Investigation underway after shack fire claims lives of 5 children

Five children died when a fire ripped through several homes in Philippi.

FILE: The remains of a shack after a fire. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Police are investigating after five children died in a shack fire in Philippi, in the Western Cape.

At this stage, it's unclear what caused the blaze that broke out in the Masiya informal settlement in the early hours of Saturday morning. Around 30 people have been displaced.

Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk says officials are investigating what happened.

“We can confirm the shack fire this morning at Masiya, which is just behind the police college. Five children - aged 14,15, 12 and twins aged 1 - were fatally injured. The mother also sustained burn wounds.”

The onset of winter usually brings with it a spike in shack fires. In a separate incident on Friday, two children were killed in a blaze at the Enkanini informal settlement in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

In Gauteng, three children were killed on Tuesday night when a blaze ripped through their home in the Spooktown informal settlement. The children were aged between two and 11. The incident has left the community living in fear of losing their loved ones this winter.

Sibusiso Mavuso said the community staged several protests, but service delivery has not improved.

“We’ve done a lot of protesting in this area. We started long time ago, since after 1994.”

He added the area lacked basic services, such as proper sanitation and electricity.

“Because if we had electricity, maybe they will be using a heater, which is much safer than the paraffin stove.”

Additional reporting by Thando Kubheka.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)