Zuma sends condolences to Nigel victims

2010-08-03 09:01

President Jacob Zuma yesterday extended his condolences to the

families of the 18 people killed in a fire at an old age home in Nigel.

“The pain caused to families, relatives and staff is no doubt

immeasurable. We share the loss and pain, and government will do everything in

its power to assist,” the presidency said in a statement.

He called for the investigation into the cause of the fire to be

expedited.

Meanwhile Gauteng police said the names of 18 elderly people who

died in the fire at the Pieter Wessels old age home on Sunday night would not be

released for some time as the identification process was complex.

“We have suspicions of who the people are but identifying them

could take a while as many were burnt beyond recognition,” Springs police

spokesperson Tommy Tomlinson said.

The identification process would begin this morning and DNA tests

would be performed on the badly burnt corpses to determine their identity.

Tomlinson said identification would also be delayed because some

family members were unknown and others lived far away and would take a while to

arrive at the mortuary.

The 18 bodies were removed yesterday afternoon and taken to a

government mortuary in Heidelberg.

The Gauteng health department had arranged transport to the

mortuary for family members.

Health department spokesperson Mandla Sidu said counselling

services were being offered to the survivors, their families and the families of

the deceased.

Survivors of the fire had been transferred to the Zanele Mbeki Home

as well as the Nigel old age home, with arrangements being made for further old

age homes.

The fire broke out at Pieter Wessels old age home around 9pm on

Sunday.

Three other people were hospitalised. Of those, one person was

taken to hospital in a critical condition with 40% burn wounds, while two others

had sustained serious injuries.

The 18th person died of a suspected heart attack after the

fire.

After the blaze was extinguished, firemen searched the building and

found the bodies of 17 people.

A total of 84 people were rescued.

The remaining 81 people were treated on the scene.

Forensic investigations were underway to determine the cause of the

fire.

Donations of food and clothes could be dropped off at Zanele Mbeki

Home.

Financial donations could be deposited to: Account name: TC Adra, Bank:

Absa, Account number:1001390755, Branch code: 334143, reference: P Wessels FCC.

People could also contact Pastor Louis Gouws on 016 342 0308 or 082 496

4944.



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