House catches fire, again

2010-03-25 00:00

A FIRE in upper Pine Street yesterday has gutted the home of 12 people, leaving two injured and 90% of the residents’ belongings destroyed. This is the third time the property has caught fire in three years.

“It is suspected that the fire was started by an iron that was left on,” said Rodney Trenam, fire investigator at the Msunduzi fire and rescue department.

Said Netcare 911’s Jeff Wicks: “When we arrived, just after 10 am, the house was burning badly and the south side of the house was engulfed in flames. The fire department arrived a minute after the fire began and rapidly got it under control.”

Wicks said the police had cleared the house, taking two women out. They managed to save a few clothes and some belongings.

Two Zimbabwean sisters, Gertrude and Asher Sceidi, were injured when they broke a window to escape the smoke. They were taken to Edendale Hospital for treatment.

The senior division officer in charge of operations at the fire and rescue department, Essack Khan, said at the scene that no other people were injured as “the people in the house left once the fire started”.

The house, which was completely gutted except for one room, has six rooms that house two people each.

The first fire on the property took place about two years ago, claiming one man’s life.

Another fire, which occurred four months ago, started when a pan was left unattended.

The owner of the property, Khanyisile Mhlongo (44), said yesterday’s fire destroyed about R100 000 worth of goods. Mhlongo, who is a vendor, said: “I am lucky I do not store my stock at home.”

She said she will be going home to her parents in Sweetwaters.

Mhlongo told The Witness that she has no insurance to claim from and many debts to cover.

“I plead with everybody I owe to have mercy on me,” she said.

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