40 homes destroyed by Overcome Heights fire

Residents of Overcome Heights informal settlement in Lavender Hill pick up the pieces after a blaze destroyed more than 40 shacks.

Over the past five weeks, the residents of Overcome Heights have twiced faced the devastation of fire.

First was the fire that swept through the area on Christmas Eve when 100 homes were razed. And then again, on Monday January 29, about 40 homes were destroyed, leaving about 150 people homeless.

The City’s Disaster Risk Management spokesperson Charlotte Powell said confirmed these numbers, adding that a 12-year-old boy had been treated for burn wounds.

“Infrastructure damaged includes standpipes, portable toilets and electrical infrastructure,” she said.

Thomas Cock a resident of Overcome Heights informal settlement in Lavender Hill was among those who lost his home in the fire.

One of the fire victims, wheelchair-bound Yolanda Prince, lost everything in the fire “I lost everything in my house,” she said.

“At the moment I don’t have food, clothes, I lost everything. When the fire started I was asleep and alone, my friend came and she took me out of the house and she was helped by other people to pull my wheelchair.”

Ms Prince, whose only income is disability grant, said she does not have any money to rebuild and she is waiting for her next payout, which was due on Monday February 5.

Another affected resident, Ashley Pistorius, said the fire started at his house, but he was not home at the moment. Some residents, he said, do not want him to rebuild as they suspect his friend had been burning copper in his yard.

“I went to withdraw money and when I came back there was a big flame, now people do not want me to rebuild. I was not there, and I never burn copper in my yard. Where am I going to stay now? I have three kids,” he told Southern Mail.

Ali Sably from Gift of the Givers said their team was busy assessing the situation in Overcome Heights. “We will be assisting the affected families with hot meals, blankets,toiletry packs, baby care packs and mattresses.”

The aftermath of this week’s fire in Overcome Heights.