Neighbours save house

2010-09-24 00:00

A SUSPECTED spa-bath explosion at a house in Prestbury yesterday morning sparked a fire that gutted the lapa and the outside entertainment area, and caused substantial damage to the roof of the main house.

The Krugel family are lucky their house was not burned to the ground by the fire that started in their entertainment area.

The thatched wooden lapa was in the back yard, close to the main house. It had burned to the ground.

Suzie Krugel said she had just left for work when one of her neighbours called her to say there had been an explosion at the lapa that started a huge blaze.

A distraught Krugel, who looked on despondently at the damage to, said she was eternally grateful to God and her neighbours for their assistance.

“My neighbours were fantastic. During the incident, one was trying to get hold of us.

“Another called the fire brigade and one who has keys to our house went in with a fire extinguisher to try and put the blaze out, but the fire was already too big.”

Krugel said she had no idea what had caused the explosion or the fire.

“This was just an entertainment area with a jacuzzi. I have no idea what could have caused the explosion.”

She said that no one was home at the time of the explosion.

The fire burned through the stylish, split-level entertainment area and its contents, leaving just a wet thatched roof on the ground among blackened wooden support poles.

And because the entertainment area is close to the house, the fire spread to the roof of the main house and burnt through the ceiling until the roof collapsed.

Inside the house was a scene of devastation. Antiques were damaged and several windows had been shattered by the heat.

Outside, the perfectly landscaped garden was blackened, and wood stacked away for the next braai was already well lit.

While Krugel looked on at her shattered dream of the entertainment area, her agitated husband was trying to contact their insurance company.

“Even in tragic times like these, you thank the Lord and that is why I am so thankful to Him because I know that it could have been much worse,”said Krugel.

Division Officer Craig February of the Msunduzi fire department said it took two fire engines 20 minutes to put out the fire. He said although they would not want to speculate on the cause of the explosion and the fire, they were certain that the fire started with the explosion in the entertainment area.

“The fire investigators will look at the cause of the fire and from what we can see, it started here. The [spa-bath] pump might have caused the explosion and once the spark caught on to the thatched roof, the whole place was gone,” said February.

He said although the fire burned about a quarter of the main house, they were grateful that they were able to contain it before it did more extensive damage.

• Video footage of the damage done to the Krugel home and interviews with the people involved is available on the Witness website at www.witness.co.za.

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