Woodstock burns again less than a week after Holy Cross blaze

Firefighters battle the Pine Road blaze, while residents look on.

Two fires broke out at the same time in Woodstock yesterday afternoon, less than a week after a blaze gutted three classrooms, a computer lab, the new library and the feeding-scheme kitchen at the Holy Cross Primary School.

A fire flared up in Pine Road at 4pm when coals from a drum brazier set nearby shacks ablaze, leaving more than 30 people without shelter.
Elize Booysen lost most of her possessions. Someone in the shanty settlement had not put the fire out properly and the wind had caused the flare-up, she said.

Mariette Fillies, who lives with her boyfriend, Joseph Moses, lost her wendy house and all her possessions in the fire.

Ward Councillor Dave Bryant said the fire victims had been housed in the Woodstock Town Hall last night. “The fire has destroyed a lot of belongings, and City teams are working to assist with sleeping materials and other essential items in the interim.”

At the same time yesterday, fire swept through an Islamic school for girls, on the corner of Nelson and Pontac streets. Nelson Street resident Samaoen Arense said he had seen smoke billowing from the building.

Thirty-two firefighters and several vehicles were deployed to fight the fire, according to Fire and Rescue spokesman Edward Bosch.

“Severe fire damage was caused to the residence and office block of the school. No injuries were reported, and all the learners were accounted for. The cause of the fire is not yet established,” he said.

Ursula Windsor, of the District Six Neighbourhood Watch, said they had heard about the fire over their radios at about 3.45pm. “The fire got contained and all the girls got out safe,” she said.