Man dies in shack fire

The year started tragically for Magrieta Konstabel who lost her husband, Jakobus van Wyk, in a fire that destroyed three shacks in Fisantekraal.

The blaze started at about 9pm on Saturday January 6, destroying the two shacks at 23 Goedverwacht Street, the one behind them and partially damaging an adjacent structure.

Mr Van Wyk, 48, was trapped in one of the shacks when it caught alight.

Community leader Elaine Hartzenberg saw smoke from her home in Langverwacth Street and went to see where it was coming from.

“I saw people running in the direction of Goedverwacht,when I got outside and saw the family. I asked where ‘Pen’ was, and his sister told me he was still inside the wendy,” she said.

Neighbours had fought the fire but had not had enough water, said Ms Hartzenberg. It was too late by the time emergency services and the fire department arrived.

“The distance from the Durbanville fire station and Fisantekraal is too far; they would never have been able to arrive in time,” she said.

Last Wednesday, a clearly shaken Ms Konstabel told Northern News she did not know how the fire started, and the family were still waiting on the results of the investigation.

They also had to wait for DNA tests to confirm Mr Van Wyk’s death.

The couple had been together for 18 years. They have two boys, aged 16 and 28.

Ms Konstabel said her husband had been a quiet person who had loved to read.

“He was always going to the library to take out books. He would sit here at home and read his books, and when he was done, he would go get other books,” she said.

A memorial service will be held this week, and the funeral will take place next week.

Another fire broke out in Fisantekraal on New Year’s Day, leaving a young couple and their child homeless.

Organisations working in the area have pooled their resources to help the families get back on their feet.

GiveWise founder Lucinda Valentine said Disaster Risk Management had given building material, and social workers were helping the families.

Eskom workers have also visited the area to repair power cables damaged by the fire.