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About 500 homes destroyed in Capricorn fire

The blaze ripped through Overcome Heights late on Thursday spreading rapidly due to strong winds.

Building material is distributed to Khayelitsha residents on 22 October 2018 following a shack fire in the area. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Another major informal settlement fire has destroyed an estimated 500 homes in the Western Cape.

The fire hit in Capricorn near Muizenberg and ripped through Overcome Heights late on Thursday, spreading rapidly due to strong winds.

It took firefighters just over seven hours to douse the flames.

No injuries have been reported in Capricorn fire and officials are still counting the number of victims left displaced.

Many Overcome Heights residents spent the night on a field among debris with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Others were a little luckier, they had enough time to salvage some of their belongings like mattresses, blankets and stoves before the flames spread to their homes.

These residents are now keeping a watchful eye on the little they have left, fearing that the fire victims who have lost everything will steal their belongings.

A 16-year-old girl is one of them, sitting with her two-year-old brother feeding him porridge from a pot while guarding three mattresses, blankets and a bag of clothes.

Their mother is queuing meters away, waiting to share her personal information with disaster risk officials.

It's been a devastating week for informal settlement dwellers in the Cape Town area.

There were three major fires over the weekend: more than 300 homes were destroyed in Khayelitsha, two people were killed in Hangberg and 100 more displaced in Kosovo.

PILOT TO BE REMEMBERED

As Cape Town enters fire season, the Western Cape Environmental Affairs Department is sounding warnings around the risk of fires.

Firefighters have been battling against several large fires wildfires this week in George, Tulbagh, and Vermaaklikheid.

A Working on Fire pilot died in a crash while on duty in the Garden Route.

The 65-year-old Nico Heyns will be commemorated this Sunday.

Kishugu Aviation chairperson Trevor Abrahams says Heyns was a competent pilot with more than 15 years’ experience.

“The Civil Aviation, together with the family, will be having a memorial ceremony on Sunday and we’ll give further details at a later stage.”

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