Homes razed in Jika Joe blaze

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE - PHOTO: NOMPILO KUNENE

More than 20 fam­i­lies were left home­less af­ter a fire broke out at the JIka Joe in­for­mal set­tle­ment along Ash Road on Satur­day. Alex Mokeona (left) and Posetso Molefe, who were among many res­i­dents who lost their shacks in the fire, dig through the rub­ble in the hope of re­cov­er­ing us­able items.

MANY Jika Joe res­i­dents re­turned home on Satur­day af­ter­noon to find their houses razed af­ter a fire broke out, leav­ing over 20 fam­i­lies home­less.

When The Wit­ness vis­ited Jika Joe, along Ash Road, yes­ter­day many res­i­dents who had lost their homes were seen search­ing through the ashes and rub­ble hop­ing to find some of their be­long­ings.

A Jika Joe res­i­dent, Jab­u­lani Mokoena, said he was among the first peo­ple who saw the fire and tried to ex­tin­guish it while wait­ing for the fire­fight­ers. “The fire started at around 2.30 pm at one of the shacks in the mid­dle.

“The whole com­mu­nity tried to ex­tin­guish the fire to pre­vent it from spread­ing but the flames were too big for us to man­age,” he said.

Mokoena, who owns sev­eral shacks in the area that he rents out to ten­ants, said many of his neigh­bours and ten­ants re­turned to their homes that had been de­stroyed.

“A young man had left a paraf­fin stove on top of an elec­tri­cal stove and we sus­pect that’s how the fire started,” said Mokoena.

Posetso Molefe said he was also around the area when the fire broke out. “I man­aged to run and take out all of my clothes and most of my be­long­ings be­fore the fire de­stroyed my home,” he said.

Alex Mokeone, who was one of the res­i­dents who lost ev­ery­thing in the fire, said this was the sec­ond time his shack has burnt down in the five years he has lived at Jika Joe.

He said the clothes on his back were all he was left with and he was plan­ning to re­build his house and restart his life.

Res­i­dents said dis­as­ter man­age­ment came to help yes­ter­day and gave them blan­kets, but said they had no tents, re­sult­ing in many of them sleep­ing out in the open.

PHOTO: NOMPILO KUNENE

Chil­dren at Jika Joe chil­dren were seen search­ing for nails to help their par­ents re­build their shacks.

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