Paint used to protect house walls
Backyarders in Bonteheuwel will soon sleep safer thanks to a new project to protect their homes from fires.

Over the last week, more than 20 men in the community have been painting homes with fire retardant paint following an initiative by ward councillor Angus McKenzie and the Khusela Ikhaya Project.

McKenzie says after a devastating fire in Firethorn Street where seven families were left homeless, the project to help curb the spread of fires was started.

During the blaze, 30 people, including an 18-month-old toddler, were displaced.

“The community met with Khusela Ikhaya, who conducted a demonstration for residents, showing how the paint works. He painted a piece of cardboard and shows that when set alight, it does not burn,” explains McKenzie.

“Several relatives of this household including a young girl were injured and with this paint we hope to stop the fires from spreading so rapidly and giving people a chance to get out in time. The doors and window frames are not painted as these are escape routes.”

The roll-out started just over a week ago and will cover 100 backyard dwellings in Bontas.

McKenzie says the family in Firethorn Street were the first recipients.

Mom Dianne Job, 40, says her niece, Celena Charles, 4, who suffered facial burns has just been discharged from hospital.

“She was in Red Cross Hospital for more than three weeks and now has permanent scars,” she says.

“The City came to give us kits so we could rebuild the houses and we went to see how the paint works and now we feel safe to sleep at night.”

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