House fires a worry during load shedding

House fires a worry during load shedding


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Cape Town – Over the past two months there have been 556 fires in both formal and informal houses across the city, and with winter only at the beginning and load shedding adding to the woes, the potential for a huge increase in house fires is worrisome.

After several house fire incidents in local communities, activist Deborah Ruiters said she was worried about what might happen to her family’s home during load shedding, and the homes of other residents in her community.

“Over the past few weeks we have seen so much damage in Bonteheuwel because of house fires. It’s winter now and on top of that, there is load shedding. Does the government not realise the potential crisis here? People need to keep warm and safe in winter, not lighting fires and candles that could cause disasters, not just us but all the other areas, too.”

The City said that over the past two months, there were 556 house fire incidents reported across the City, with most house fires at formal residential homes rather than informal homes.

Spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said: “During April and May there were 556 house fires, inclusive of both informal and formal houses, with some of the hot-spot areas in Du Noon, Khayelitsha, Philippi, Wallacedene, Nomzano, Lwandle, Gugulethu, Bonteheuwel and Sea Winds.

“Regarding the winter season being referred to as the fire season, there is no such thing. The City’s Fire and Rescue Service remains on high alert at all times and responds to all emergency calls received. In terms of load shedding, our fire stations have made contingency plans to operate normally during load shedding times,” said Carelse.

Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said the province had contingency measures in place should emergencies crop up during load shedding.

Bredell said: “We are aware of the ongoing pressure Eskom is under. We are also aware that the pressure Eskom is under is not likely to go away in the short term and may be expected to continue during the winter when electricity demand is high.

“The Disaster Management Centre has made every effort to put contingencies in place to deal with emergencies where they may occur during extended episodes of load shedding.”

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Cape Argus

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