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Prieska man dies in shack fire

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The community of Prieska has slammed the lack of proper emergency services following the death of a 35-year-old man in a shack fire in Plakkerskamp recently.

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THE COMMUNITY of Prieska has slammed the lack of proper emergency services following the death of a 35-year-old man in a shack fire in Plakkerskamp recently.

The fire was spotted by local police officers who were busy with routine patrols.

Police spokesperson Colonel Cherelle Ehlers said the wife of the deceased was rushed to Kimberley for medical assistance.

“The police in Prieska are investigating an inquest after a 35-year-old man died in a shack fire and his wife sustained burn injuries. The incident occurred at approximately 11.40pm on Sunday at the squatter camp in Prieska. Members of the police were conducting routine patrols when they noticed the fire.

“Police members together with the community managed to extinguish the fire. The deceased was found inside the shack and his wife was admitted to hospital for treatment. The cause of the fire is being investigated and no foul play is suspected,” Ehlers said.

Community members said their calls to the fire brigade and fire station have, over the years, fallen on deaf ears.

“It is heartbreaking that we have to live under such hazardous conditions because we have no access to qualified people who can fight fires. The community and the police had to run up and down with buckets and other containers in an attempt to extinguish the fire.

“Unfortunately all their efforts were not enough to save the owner of the shack. Someone has lost his life and maybe if we had a fire brigade and a fire truck he could have been saved faster.

“There have been several instances where people’s homes were totally destroyed by fires. Many families had to watch their homes go up in flames because there was no fire brigade to help extinguish the blaze. How many more people need to die before this matter is addressed with urgency/” the residents asked.

Some community members said that a new fire station could even address some of the social challenges they are facing in the town.

“There are so many youngsters who are without proper jobs in our community. If we can send these youngsters for training in firefighting, they can be employed as firefighters at the municipality.

“This town is expanding at a rapid pace as there are new mining companies and solar power stations located in this area. The population of this town has also increased drastically. One has to implement the required measures when a town is growing in population.

“The provision of housing and sanitation cannot be the only matters that enjoy attention, but the safety of the people should also be high on the agenda. There are also many farms where the services of a fire brigade will be required if there should be veld fire,” they said.

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