A fiery blaze at the Cato Crest informal settlement claimed two lives and left 83 dwellers homeless on Sunday.

Two men, believed to be in their 30s, died in the fire when the flames engulfed the shacks and spread rapidly through the settlement at around 8am.

Police spokesperson, Lt/Col Thulani Zwane, confirmed the fire and said firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze. “The cause of fire is yet to be known. Inquest dockets were opened for investigation.”
Speaking to the Weekly Gazette, councillor in the area, Warren Burne, said he had proceeded to the scene after hearing about the devastating inferno.

“It was a distressing sight. Scores of people homeless. Two reported deaths. About 38 homes razed to the ground. Firefighters had worked swiftly to extinguish the blaze. It was a heartbreaking scene that I have witnessed before and which was replayed yet again. The tears, the sadness, the tragedy.

Those who were affected by the fire have lost everything. Their belongings, their valuables and important documents. They basically have nothing. We need to now determine from them what their exact needs are and help accordingly,” said Cllr Burne.

“The Ethekwini Municipality has since the many disasters over the years adapted on how to deal with such catastrophes and are fast-tracking the process to help the displaced dwellers by providing them with the items to help re-build their homes,” said Cllr Burne.

Meanwhile, Metro Police chief, Steve Middleton, issued a warning to the public to be cautious when lighting candles or utilizing a gas stove. He urged the public to not leave candles burning or gas stoves on as the dangers associated with them are hazardous with fatal consequences.