Tragedy struck over the Heritage weekend when fire saw homes in informal settlements burn to the ground in the Western Cape.
The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue service expressed that on Friday, September 24, they were urgently called about fires on Milldene Road, to which crews from Belhar to Milnerton were quick to attend to.
According to IOL, house fires were reported in Bronteheuwel, Gugulethu, Ravensmead, Eerste River and Tafelsig.
The Tafelsig fire saw a family lose their lives while their remaining belongings were ransacked.
The affected areas suffered indisputable loss both as a collective and as individuals. In terms of personal loss, one woman was brave enough to talk about the nightmare of losing her best friend.
Ravensmead — Johanna Scholtz recalled thinking that it was a Friday like any other. How could anyone have known that it would be the last time the pensioner and resident of Milldene Road would see her best friend alive?
The flames began to lick at the surrounding homes. Johanna tells News24 that she looked out of her bedroom window and saw “orange everywhere.”
“I frantically started shouting that the houses were on fire and people should get out,” she expressed.
The community rushed in a desperate scramble of a rescue with buckets of water at the ready to control the flames. As Johanna notes, those efforts simply weren’t enough.
Eventually, the firefighters arrived, the flames put out and the damage and debris ready to inspect.
However, the losses were not material alone — not by any means. Johanna discovered that her best friend’s life had been taken, her body blackened and still in her bed when Johanna discovered her.
Once the firefighters came and the damage was put out, the debris of damage could be assessed.
Johanna expressed that she couldn’t control her tears. She believes that her dear companion, Alida Ramsey, didn’t have enough time to escape the fire and burnt to death in her bed as a result.
Alida passed alongside the other members of the household. The wife and husband with whom Alida lived were all found dead.
Of the tragedy, Johanna talks about how she still thinks it could’ve been a dream.
“…but then I look outside my house and see the charred remains of her house.”