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Shack Fire in Nomzamo

A common desaster

In March 2022, a devastating fire broke out in the Nomzamo informal settlement in Cape Town. Firefighters worked all night to bring the fire under control, but the narrow paths in the community made it impossible to get close enough. By the end of the night, 1,200 people lost their homes and belongings in the flames.

People cleaning up and rebuilding their houses after the fire in Nomzamo

Fires like this happen very often. Why?

No one knows, where the fire started. But there are quite a few common reasons, why a fire starts, ranging from illegal electricity connections that overheat to open cooking fires that get out of control.

In informal settlements, houses are built so close together that fire can jump from one house to the other. Because building materials are very flammable, fires can spread easily.

Most people do not have a fire extinguisher. The communal taps have no water pressure and are no help to put out the fire when it is still small.

The community built their own fire extinguishers

A week after this disaster, the dooiy team showed the community how to build a foam fire extinguisher with a few household items: a cool drink bottle, vinegar, dishwashing liquid and bicarb of soda.

At first, people were sceptical. But after they saw the fire extinguisher in action, everyone was very excited about it. The community made more than 120 fire extinguishers in one afternoon! A spark of hope that a catastrophe like this might not happen soon again.

Making fire extinguishers

Make a soda & vinegar fire extinguisher

Do-it-yourself fire extinguisher Show me

Today we know …

that at least one of those fire extinguishers helped to prevent another big fire in the community.

Alicia from Nomzamo ZA

I had a gas incident in my house and the fire was suddendly everywhere. Luckily I could get it under control with my homemade fire extinguisher.
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On dooiy you find fun and easy hacks that make life easier. Just follow our simple step-by-step guides and create something for your home or community with little materials and tools. Want to start a business? dooiy might be the perfect starting point for you.

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