The lives of five people were claimed by separate shack fires in Cape Town on Christmas Day.

The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said they responded to the first fire at 00:15 where informal structures were alight in Vilakazi Street, Masiphumelele.

"Several structures were destroyed and during mopping up operations the bodies of a man and a second body burnt beyond recognition were discovered.

"In the second incident at 22:11 the body of a man was also discovered after structures were destroyed in the Siqalo informal settlement.

"The City's Fire & Rescue Service also responded at 23:52 to informal structures alight in Vrygrond, Lavender Hill. The crews were confronted by an extremely volatile crowd and police presence was requested," Carelse quoted by News24. 

The bodies of two other men were discovered whilst a third person suffered 80% burn wounds and was taken to a nearby hospital.