School hostel fire destroys deaf boys' hearing aids
Seventeen deaf boys lost their hearing aids when fire destroyed part of their school hostel.
The top storey of the junior boys’ hostel at De La Bat School for the Deaf in Worcester‚ in the Western Cape‚ was extensively damaged in a fire on Monday afternoon.
Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer said in a statement on Tuesday: “The Cape Winelands fire department responded swiftly‚ but the fire spread rapidly owing to windy conditions and was difficult to bring under control.
“The hostel was immediately evacuated and I am relieved that no learners were injured. Seventeen learners and the house mother who reside in the hostel have‚ however‚ sadly lost all their personal belongings‚ hearing aids and text books.”
Schäfer said education department officials visited the school on Tuesday to assess the damage and put contingency plans in place.
“In the meantime‚ the learners are being accommodated in other hostel accommodation at the school‚” she said. “Learners returned to class this morning and counselling is being provided to those learners who were traumatised by the incident.
"The cause of the fire is not yet known‚ but the Cape Winelands fire department are investigating.”
Schäfer thanked community members and businesses for their gifts of clothing and toiletries to the affected pupils.