Family of 11 homeless after house bombed

2009-07-16 00:00

A COPESVILLE family has accused the Msunduzi Municipality of being incompetent after their house was allegedly gutted by fire in front of firefighters.

Kishore Roopnarain’s house at 18 Malachite Road was petrol-bombed on Sunday, and razed while fire fighters were looking for water.

“They arrived 30 minutes later and the fire engine had no water. They called another fire engine, which arrived, but also had no water. They ran around looking for a fire hydrant and by the time they found water, the house had been burnt to ashes,” Roopnarain’s daughter, Raksha Mahomed, told The Witness.

Another family member, Rajeshree Roopnarain, said the Msunduzi fire fighters “could have saved our house, but it was too late. Why would you come to do a job if do not have resources?”

Mohamed said she was sleeping in the dining room when the fire started. “Something was thrown on to the veranda and I heard a crackling sound and then it burst. “Immediately after that, the house caught fire, it was so terrible, the fire was gushing into the house.”

Mohamed rushed into the other rooms and woke up everyone in the house. “It was a split second escape, by the time we reached the kitchen door on our way out, the kitchen was engulfed by fire.” There were 11 people in the house, including a three-month-old baby, a two-year-old and a 12-year-old.

The Roopnarain family also accused the police of failing to assist them. “We were in a state of shock; the police helped us to push the vehicles out of the yard, but they did not ask any questions and took no statements from us … ”

The family lost all their possessions in the fire — car keys, furniture and clothes were burnt. “We only have what we were wearing at the time.”

The family are staying at a relative’s house. All 11 are staying in a one-bedroom house.

The police are investigating a case of arson. Msunduzi Municipality spokeswoman Ntobeko Ngcobo was unable to provide a response yesterday.

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