Mysterious fires leave Hopewell family baffled

2011-06-27 00:00

MYSTERIOUS fires that apparently ignite spontaneously have over the past two weeks destroyed the homes and belongings of a family in Hopewell near Thornville.

The freakish fires have burned through the Mthembu family’s main house, two low-cost houses in the yard and another low-cost house belonging to the children, across the street from the main family home.

The charred remains of some of their possessions — beds, sound system speakers, plastic and steel wash basins, food and clothes — lay in the yard yesterday.

The steel basins had melted.

The remaining furniture that the family managed to pull out of the fire was strewn across the lawn as they kept watch over it.

Neighhbours, fire-fighters and managers from the Richmond Municipality and uMgungundlovu District Disaster management teams agreed that this was the first fire of its kind they have witnessed.

They said they had seen the fire start spontaneously and burn through things that had been pulled from the house.

Mashoba Mthembu ,the owner of the house, said at least 13 family members are squatting together in one room because they have nowhere else to sleep and that the children are fearful of sleeping in the main house.

She said that the fires started almost two weeks ago on her bed.

“It first burned through my bed and it burnt it halfway.

In that bed there was about R3 000 that had been paid a few weeks earlier for my daughter’s ilobola, and it also burnt,” Mthembu added.

She said that after her bed was burnt, the fire raged through each of the bedrooms, consuming mattresses first and then the whole rooms.

So far it has burned about four bedrooms in the main house.

“At first we thought that it was children who were just playing with fire and accidentally caused it, but the matter came to a head yesterday when the fire became uncontrollable.

“ It burned through everything. If you put it out here, it will start somewhere else.”

She said the fire had also burnt her daughter’s house, which is across the street.

Ward councillor Bonginkosi Shange said that even the fire-fighters who had been called to the scene were puzzled.

“One female fire-fighter just about wet herself when the fire started right in front of her eyes and said she had never seen anything like this.

“ Just this morning we have put out at least three different fires,” he said.

Joe Nzimande, a community leader said, “The problem is that no other community members want to accommodate the family because they think this fire will follow them there.”

Musa Ndlovu, of the Richmond Municipality disaster management team, said the team has organised counselling for the family.

He added, “This family has been heavily traumatised.

“This kind of fire is not a normal fire. It is something that we have never seen before.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.