Neighbour saves fire victim

2007-11-18 00:00

Pat Govender, who inherited the house in Bombay Heights from his mother, says the fire began when a candle in the bedroom fell over while he was in the kitchen getting a drink of water.

Wafts of smoke sent him rushing back to his room but by the time he got there, the blaze had already raced out of control.

Fearing for his life, Govender quickly made his way to the kitchen in order to make a speedy exit, but he found the door locked and remembered that the keys were in the burning room. Moving swiftly, he grabbed a T-shirt and wrapped it around his face as he made his way through the inferno in an attempt to retrieve the keys.

The intense heat and smoke in the bedroom made this an impossible task and Govender was saved when his screams alerted a neighbour who was then able to break him out.

The fire department arrived just in time to fight the blaze, preventing it from spreading to the rest of the house.

When The Witness arrived yesterday morning, Govender was still visibly shaken. He said he was grateful to be alive. “It's an experience I won't forget. I thought I was going to die,” he said.

Heat-cracked walls, holes in the roof and ash along the floor were a reminder of the horror incident. All that remained in the burnt bedroom were bits of a foam mattress, metal bed springs, pieces of burnt wood and other unidentifiable debris of things that were turned to ash.

Govender was distraught and said he is forced to use candles because his financial problems do not allow him to pay for electricity.

“I have no family. I am an only child and I struggle to make ends meet,” he said.

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