According to police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse Van Rensburg, the incident happened at 08:45 in Noxolo Street, New Brighton.
“It is alleged that at approximately 08:45 in Noxolo Street, New Brighton, the mother (36), who stays in a shack next to the main house with her two daughters, went to the neighbours to charge her cell phone.
The two sisters, aged 18 and 12 years, stayed behind in the shack.
“When the mother returned to the shack she noticed the fire but was unable to enter the shack or to reach her children.”
Janse Van Rensburg said both children passed away in the fire.
The cause of the fire is unknown.
She said an inquest had been opened, and the investigation is still ongoing.
The City of Cape Town said shack fires are very hard to control and can have devastating consequences for residents of informal settlements.
Pay attention to these essential tips and help control the risk:
- Keep a close eye on paraffin stoves.
- Don’t cook near a window with a curtain.
- Make sure the stove doesn’t fall over, which may burn children or cause a fire. Make sure cooking fires are put out properly.
- Make sure candles are secure and can’t fall over.
- Don’t go to sleep or leave the house with candles or gas lamps still burning.
- Don’t smoke in bed!
- Teach children about the dangers of fire.
- Teach children not to play with matches or lighters – store these items out of their reach.
- Make sure cigarette butts are put our properly before disposing of them.
- Be aware of the dangers of illegal and faulty electricity connections, which also cause fires.
- Keep a bucket handy to fill with water so that you can extinguish flames easily.
- Keep a bucket of sand to put out paraffin fires.
- Build shacks a good distance (at least 3m) apart to prevent fires from spreading; make sure this space is kept open.
- Keep roads and access to shacks clear at all times.
- Do not block roads with the shack’s belongings when there is a fire.
- Do not prevent or disturb the work of fire crews fighting fires.
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