Fire robs family of all they own

Lucas Shai (right), his wife Joyce Sediane (in the pink towel) and the family members from Empilisweni informal settlement in Thokoza are working hard to try to rebuild their shack after it was burnt to ashes in March.

Lucas Shai, the sad father of the house, said they are lucky that none of the family members sustained any injuries when the shacks burnt down.

“The fire started in the morning when my wife, Joyce Sediane, was cooking breakfast using a paraffin stove. The stove fell over and the paraffin spilt all over the floor and the fire started. She tried to save the situation on her own but she failed. She then came to report to me. At that time the fire was very high and it became difficult to control it,” said Shai.

Shai said his shack and five other shacks belonging to other family members burnt to ashes.

“We tried everything we could to stop the fire but it was beyond our control,” Shai said.

He said the Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS) came to their rescue and stopped the fire before it could burn down neighbouring houses.

He thanked the Ekurhuleni municipality for helping them with blankets.

“Those blankets have made a huge difference to us, as it is so cold,” said Shai.

Sediane said they are staying with a family next door.

“There are so many of us and we are squatting in just a few rooms. The situation is not good.

“We got help from the Red Ants. They donated corrugated iron that we are going to use to put up temporary shacks as we are still waiting for the permanent ones that were promised to us by Ekurhuleni Department of Housing,” said Sediane.

She said everything they had burnt to ashes, including the car that was parked next to one of the shacks.

“We couldn’t save anything important from inside. Everything, including money, ID books, clothes, appliances and was food burnt. We remain only with what we were wearing,” said Sediane.

Aaron Damane

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