4 June 2014
Government sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the five people, including three children, who died in a shack fire in Vlakfontein, Johannesburg early this morning.
Acting GCIS CEO, Phumla Williams said, “This is an unfortunate incident that should not have happened. As we enter into the winter season, government calls on all citizens to take precautionary measures when lighting fires.”
People living in informal settlements are vulnerable to shack fires that are in most cases caused by paraffin stoves, heaters, unattended candles, gas appliances, amongst others as they try to keep warm.
“People need to ensure that they adhere to precautionary measures to avoid devastating fire incidents. During winter there are numerous and very common incidents of heating in shack dwellings with sources such as open fires and electrical heaters too close to combustible materials. Boxes of matches and cigarette lighters should be stored safely, away from children said Williams.
Government calls on all parents and guardians to ensure compliance to safety regulations and protect their children from such fire accidents. “Parents are urged to be aware of the whereabouts of their children at all times. Children should not be left unattended or locked in a house with no proper ventilation and enough fresh air,” William said.
The Convention of the Rights of the Child clearly highlights that - the best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults should do what is best for children.
Williams added that “during this child protection week, let us ‘play our part’ and protect our children, the future leaders of our country, from fires and similar dangerous situations that may affect them.”
In the event of a fire outbreak or emergency communities are urged to call the National Emergency Response on 10111
Enquiries: Phumla Williams
Cell: 083 501 0139
Issued by Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)