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14 July 2011

Urban house fires on the rise

Johannesburg Emergency Services said the number of house fires in urban areas has increased this winter, compared to those in informal settlements.

On Wednesday, a fire in Ormonde claimed the lives of five people after a pillow fell onto a heater, sparking the blaze. An elderly man also died when his room caught fire in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday evening.

Emergency Services spokesperson Synock Matobako has warned homeowners to switch heaters off when they go to bed.

“We have seen a reduction on informal settlement fires but there’s a high volume of fires around your formal dwellings,” he said. “We know that it’s very cold but people need to be very cautious as to how they warm themselves.”