Wupperthal fire victim praised as respected member of community

Jackie Valentyn, who sustained major burn wounds, succumbed to her injuries in hospital this week.

Jackie Valentyn. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - The Wupperthal community is preparing to bury one of its own, a victim of the devastating fire that ripped through the town in December.

Fifty-three houses and five businesses were razed to the ground.

Jackie Valentyn, who sustained major burn wounds, succumbed to her injuries in hospital this week.

Community member Barend Salomo says residents were positive 57-year-old Valentyn would recover from her injuries and return to Wupperthal to rebuild her home which was gutted in the fire.

WATCH: Wupperthal fire: 53 houses destroyed and 200 residents displaced

Salomo says Valentyn is well known in the Cederberg town - she worked as a teacher and was a member of the Moravian Church choir.

“She was a very quiet person but made a mark in the community as a teacher and is respected by the community for the role that she has played.”

Locals say that the fire started about a hundred metres away from the Wupperthal Butchery, where a small group of men tried to smoke out a beehive to get honey.

The flames then rapidly spread to a grove of palm trees due to windy conditions, making its way to a shop and then to people's homes.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)