Twenty reed houses go up in flames at Komsberg

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Matheus Hamutenya
Keetmanshoop

Grape workers once again lost their belongings and national identity documents after a fire destroyed about 20 reed houses at farm Komsberg, situated 70 kilometres west of the Ariamsvlei border post, on Wednesday night.
It is alleged that a fire started in one of the reed houses at about 23h00, and spread rapidly, burning down the 20 houses. Workers lost all their belongings as many could not salvage anything after arriving in a rush from their workstations.

Due to the grapes being harvested, grape workers work long hours to package grapes and sometimes work from early morning up to midnight.

Karas regional crime investigations coordinator Deputy Commissioner Chrispin Mubebo told New Era that although no casualties were reported, three people sustained injuries.

It is alleged that one of the workers, Elizabeth Ndjamba, 33, was burned on both her legs and arms, while another two sustained other injuries and were all taken to the Ariamsvlei clinic for treatment.
Mubebo said the cause of the fire was still unknown, and that police were still investigating the cause.
Karasburg East Constituency Councillor Dennis Cootzee, during an interview with New Era, expressed concern about the regular occurrence of such fires, saying the fires happen almost every year and more should be done to prevent them in future.

“This also happened last year, so I want to make a plea to those staying there to be careful when handling open fires, because with these reed houses it is just a spark and everything burns down, but luckily no lives were lost,” he said.

In December last year it was reported by The Namibian newspaper that 190 reed houses at Komsberg were destroyed by a raging fire, with 260 workers allegedly losing their belongings to the fire.
Cootzee said he would travel to the farm today to assess the situation and see what assistance his office could provide.

••••• Caption- Reed Houses

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