Girl’s clothes burst into flame as mysterious fire continues

2011-06-28 00:00

THE mysterious fire that has burned the Mthembu family home in Hopewell over the past two weeks nearly turned tragic yesterday when it spontaneously ignited on a young child in full view of neighbours and police officers.

The 13-member family are squatting in one room as their home has been damaged by fires that have apparently ignited spontaneously inside the house, another two homes in the same yard and the home of other family members across the road.

Kwanele Mkhulisi, a relative, said a 12-year-old girl had decided to leave the home and stay at a nearby school. Before leaving, she went to the toilet and moments later she came out screaming with her clothes on fire.

“She was wearing her school uniform, which was her last item of clothing as all her other clothes have been burned,” said Mkhulisi.

The child was not injured and the fire was quickly put out.

Police officers from the Richmond area were locked in a room with family members to discuss the situation.

A local councillor, Bonginkosi Shange, expressed dismay at the strangeness of the fire.

Another community leader, Joe Nzimande, said that on Sunday night they stayed up until 1 am putting out another fire.

“We are worried because even the fire-fighters are no longer eager to come back here,” he said.

Mboniswa Mthembu, an elder in the family, said they have called in an inyanga because they are at their wits’ end.

“We have called someone to help us deal with the problem because we do not know what exactly is happening here. We suspect that this is witchcraft,” said Mthembu.

Neighbours told The Witness that this would not the first inyanga to be called in; another was called on Saturday, but another fire ignited the moment he left.

Religious groups have visited the home to pray.

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