City of Joburg assessing impact of devastating Alex shack fires

The blaze ripped through a small section of the township in the early hours of Tuesday morning when an open fire was left unattended during the current cold snap gripping Gauteng.

Alexandra residents rebuild after 20 shacks caught fire. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - More than 20 families in Alexandra are trying to find shelter for Tuesday night after their homes were destroyed by a fire.

The blaze ripped through a small section of the township in the early hours of Tuesday morning when an open fire was left unattended during the current cold snap gripping Gauteng.

The City of Johannesburg's Disaster Management team is assessing the impact of the shack fires.

Residents woke up to large flames, a thick cloud of black smoke and frantic scenes as children and women screamed for help.

Some used buckets of water to douse the raging fire.

Johannes Kabini lost everything in the blaze. He describes frantic scenes as community members tried to rescue those trapped in their shacks.

“It was scary because everyone was asleep at the time. The first thing we did was to take the children outside. The problem is that the winds were coming in our direction.”

Men were clearing the burnt debris to rebuild their homes before temperatures start dropping after sunset.

WATCH: 20 Alex shacks destroyed in fire

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)