Shack fires: trailblazer fills in the gaps

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Shack fires: trailblazer fills in the gaps

A researcher finds out why shack fires spread so quickly and how to curb this

Cape Town bureau chief

If you set fire to a wooden shack, how soon will its 20 neighbours ignite?

It’s a question that now has an answer – five minutes – thanks to research at Stellenbosch University aimed at curbing the spread of the 5,000 shack fires SA experiences annually.

The research was done by Antonio Cicione, a postdoctoral research associate in the fire engineering research unit at Stellenbosch, who conducted full-scale fire experiments on single and triple shacks that were built for the purpose...

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