Owner of gutted home sobs with relief to find daughter unhurt

2013-04-06 00:00

“THANK God my daughter was saved,” said Hugo Venter after his house was gutted by fire in Northern Park, Pietermaritzburg, yesterday afternoon.

Venter, who works at Sappi, said he received a phone call from his security company telling him that his alarm had gone off at home.

“I asked myself how it could go off because my daughter was at home, but I rushed there to see what was going on,” said Venter.

He sobbed, thinking about what could have happened to his 20-year-old daughter, who was in the room where the fire started.

He said it was fortunate that he works close to home, so he got there quickly to find the house filled with smoke and rushed to see if his daughter was alright.

“I have been told that all the rafters were damaged during the fire and my furniture was destroyed, so everything is gone,” he said.

He had to find somewhere else to spend last night.

Venter said he was due to go on leave yesterday. “I had been planning to take my family to the South Coast … and then to the North Coast to see my brother there, but now everything has been ruined.”

Venter was busy trying to get his insurance company to arrange security guards for his property.

Neighbours and friends arrived at the house to offer their support.

Some of them commended the quick response from the fire department, saying that the house could otherwise have suffered severe structural damage.

Senior divisional fire officer Essack Khan said the fire started in one room and moved through the ceiling boards, damaging the roof and some furniture. “We still need to establish the cause of fire,” he said.

Venter’s daughter was unharmed.

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