A man and his three year-old daughter have been killed in a shake fire in the Ramaphosa Informal Settlement in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni. The structure was engulfed in the early hours of Thursday.
‘Father started the fire intentionally‘
The man is believed to have intentionally
started the fire with his three children inside the home – the other two
managed escape with minimal injuries.
The children – a boy (aged seven) and girl
(aged five) reportedly fled prior to the fire and screamed for help, prompting
a neighbour to intervene. The father then locked himself and his child before
setting the shack alight.
Firefighters from the City of Ekurhuleni’s
emergency services unit rushed to the scene after receiving a phone call about
the incident. On arrival, they found the one-roomed shack in flames and neighbours
trying to extinguish the fire using buckets of water. The fighter fighters then
took action and the blaze was soon doused.
“On investigations led by information on scene about entrapments, charred bodies of the father in his forties and a three old baby girl, were found under the remains of the shack. Paramedics on scene declared both deceased before the scene was handed over to the police for further investigations”, said spokesperson William Ntladi in a statement.
“Frantically, neighbours tried to open the
door to save both from the horror of fire, but it was too little too late when
the objective was met”, Ntladi said.
Police investigating the incident
The South African Police Services (SAPS)
officers received the crime scene from firefighters and started with their
investigations and the removal of the bodies to an appropriate Pathological
“Apparently at the time of the fire, their mother was not on site. The community tried to frantically extinguish the blaze and to save the victims but unfortunately it was too little too late to save their lives. The scene has been handed over to the police for further investigations and for the removal of charred bodies to an appropriate pathology facility.”
The children were then transported by
ambulance to Bertha Gxowa hospital in Germiston for medical and psychological
treatment. It is alleged that the mother
wasn’t home at the time on the incident.
Meanwhile, the summer season sees a spike
in informal settlement fires. At least five people have been killed in separate
shack fires in Cape Town, on Christmas Day.