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100 houses gutted in St Francis Bay blaze

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Eastern Cape - A huge blaze fanned by strong winds destroyed more than 100 homes in the Eastern Cape resort town of St Francis Bay on Sunday, town officials said.

“The fire now has been half extinguished, no more immediate threat to other houses. We don't have any final figure yet but it would be more than 100 houses burnt down,” said municipal spokeswoman Laura-Leigh Randall.

Last night firefighters battled raging flames fanned by a strong westerly wind, which caused the fire to jump from house to house along the canals in the coastal town.

All residents in the area had been asked to evacuate and a temporary joint operations centre had been set up at the local police station. No injuries have been reported.

Most of the houses in the area are holiday homes.

"Firefighters from the Cacadu district municipality are still at  the scene monitoring the situation and checking for flare-ups," Randall said on Monday morning.

"Firefighters were sent home to sleep at about 4am after having extinguished the fire at the St Francis canals," she said.

“The cause of the fire is not known but the fire started at about 5.30pm at Royal Wharf developments which is mainly townhouses,” Randall said.

Reports have suggested that the fire may have been started by a braai fire.

AN EWN report said St Francis Bay residents have described scenes of “desperation, chaos and sheer destruction”.

Nita Langenhoven at the golf club , where some people have taken refuge, said the town's residents have been left devastated.

“It’s really bad… to see the people’s faces is not nice. They have lost everything,” she told EWN. - Sapa, IOL

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