Shackfires devastate coastal communities

19 shacks were razed to the ground during a fire in Tulinawa in Swakopmund on Wednesday evening. A further three shacks were destroyed in DRC yesterday morning bringing the total amount of shacks that burned since Friday evening in Swakopmund close to 40.

“These east wind conditions pose a problem. Residents should be extra careful not to leave ovens on and go outside,” said Swakopmund fire chief Adri Goosen to namib times yesterday. The fire brigade spent close to four hours on Wednesday evening using 14 000 litres of water to extinguish the blaze. “It was quite a big one,” he continued.
Goosen got the initial call about the fire at about 22:00. The exact cause of the incident is not yet known but rumours circulated that it might have been started by a cigarette left in a shack. As the houses are built close together the flames quickly spread and engulfed 19 homes. Two people had to receive medical attention at the scene. One resident was treated for smoke inhalation and another, allegedly a child, fell from a roof and injured itself.
“We used all three fire trucks and had to fill each up at least once to doze the fire,” Goosen continued.
“I heard my wife scream: ‘fire, fire, fire’. When I came outside I saw the flames. I grabbed my daughter and all we could do was stand there and see all my belongings be destroyed,” said Clemence Zemuundja to namib times. Many of the residents were busy yesterday morning trying to salvage what they could – but almost everything was completely destroyed in the heat.
“I paid N$800 rent for my shack. Now I have nothing left anymore and nowhere to go,” Zemuundja continued. He stayed in the shack with his wife and three children. “Luckily we got clothes from a friend for my kids at least,” he said.
After extinguishing the fire Goosen distributed some blankets to the affected residents on behalf of the Swakopmund Mayoral Office in the early hours of the morning. Residents who wish to assist can contact the office of the mayor the fire brigade.

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