Three children and an adult have died in a multiple shack fire incident at the Marathon Informal settlement, Germiston in the City of Ekurhuleni.
The children – were aged nine, seven and two years old – and a 43-year-old woman were all burned beyond recognition.
Officials at the scene described Sunday night’s blaze as one of the most gruesome shack fire incidents this year.
City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS) firefighters received the call just before midnight on Sunday.
Firefighters were assisted by teams from Primrose, Bedfordview and Albertina Sisulu fire stations.
On arrival, firefighters were confronted with multiple informal homes that had already been destroyed by the flames and were spreading to others.
“Offensive direct fire suppression was initiated to prevent further spread,” said City of Ekurhuleni Disaster Management officials.
After working tirelessly to put out the flames, firefighters conducted preliminary investigations at the scene.
Community members told officials that the three children from the one shack and an adult from another couldn’t escape the blaze.
All four were declared deceased on the scene by paramedics. But, the children’s mother escaped with minor burn wounds.
Officials suspect the fire started after a paraffin stove was left unattended in one of the burned shacks.
An inquest docket has been opened with the South African police services (SAPS) for in-depth investigations.