Blaze destroys three flats

2011-07-28 00:00

A 28-YEAR-OLD mother and her two children narrowly escaped death yesterday morning when their flat in Newholmes, Northdale, burnt down.

The fire razed two other flats whose roofs were completely gutted. No one was injured.

Natasha Bramdau shook like a leaf as she told the story of how her “naughty” five-year-old son, while playing with a cigarette lighter, burnt down their flat and the fire spread to two other flats in the block

She has been living in the three-roomed “Naidoo’s flats” with her husband and sons for two years.

Sitting inside a police van clad in pink pajamas and holding her nine-month-old baby, Bramdau told The Witness she does not know what she is going to do because she has lost “everything”.

“I don’t know why he did it.

“My son is very naughty. He took a lighter and lit a blanket with it. He likes playing with it [lighter],” she said.

Bramdau said that she was in bed sleeping when the flames started consuming the blankets and the “fire got big”.

The other tenants who were affected said they were frustrated because it is the middle of winter and most of their clothes have been burnt.

Bafana Mthembu, a tenant, said, “I saw flames coming out next door around 9.30 am.

“We rushed to get the hosepipe and we tried extinguishing the fire.”

He said he was not impressed when he realised that the flats did not have fire extinguishers.

“All my clothes, bedding, ID book and driver’s licence are inside the house,” he added.

Mark Pillay, a businessman who operates a convenience store beneath the flat said, “I ran with my fire extinguisher and tried to put the fire out, but by then it was simply too big.

“We tried going through the back because the front of the fire was really strong, “he said.

Sugie Naidoo, station commander at the Msunduzi Fire Department, said the fire had been spreading when the fire-fighters arrived, but they were able to contain it before it caused more damage.

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