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Fire truck arrived at Claremont shack blaze without water - residents

More than 250 people are now displaced after a blaze destroyed over 50 shacks at Claremont West informal settlement.

The remains of a shack following a fire at an informal settlement near Claremont, Johannesburg on 6 August 2018. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Residents of Claremont West in Johannesburg have accused the fire department of arriving too late after a blaze destroyed over 50 shacks.

More than 250 people are now displaced. It's believed that an unattended candle fell over and caused the fire.

A woman says when the first fire engine arrived on the scene, it had no water to extinguish the blaze.

She says a second truck was then called but arrived after an hour.

“They said they don’t have water."

Ward councillor Susan Stewart says she will raise the matter with the relevant authorities.

“For them to take so long to arrive, to not have the necessary equipment and the required water is unacceptable.”

The Johannesburg Emergency Services has denied arriving unprepared.

REBUILDING UNDERWAY

The residents are now trying to rebuild their houses before the sun goes down.

Sam Filoane woke up in the early hours of the morning, hearing people screaming and fleeing their houses.

“I woke up the others and we ran away and then we helped to pour water here.”

A man has urged the government not to wait for another disaster before building residents better houses.

“Government must come to help us, please. Because now we don’t have a plan and everything is burnt already.”

Most residents have lost everything in the fire and are now depending on food donations from the public.