Pastor’s home gutted by fire

2017-03-22 06:04

PASTOR Dumisani and wife Nokubonga Sithole's home in Shakaville was razed by a fire last Monday night leaving the family of four without a roof over their head.

Nokubonga said the family was returning from a prayer meeting at around 11.15pm when, as the pastor parked the car in the garage, they smelt smoke.

“At first we thought the car was on fire and when we realised that it was not, I grabbed the house keys and quickly went inside to inspect if the smoke was coming from there,” she said.

Nokubonga said she entered the house through a door that separates the garage and the living room.

“When I got inside the house, I could smell the smoke, but I did not see a fire. So I went down the passage to check if the fire was in the kitchen, but when I stuck my head through the kitchen door, there was no fire.
“So I decided to make my way down the passage to the master bedroom, but after a few steps, I could not go any further because the smoke became thicker and made me choke,” Nokubonga said. 

She said she then ran out of the house through the living room door.

The pastor's wife said the family could not determine the source of the fire.

She said neighbours came to their assistance using buckets of water and a hosepipe to try and douse the blaze.

A next door neighbour, Phumzile Wela said she only realised the house was on fire when one of the pastor's children banged her gate calling for help.

“We tried putting out the fire with buckets of water, but that did not help, and so I decided to wake up the other neighbours to ask them if they had the number for the fire department,” Wela said. She said firefighters were called to the scene and their tank had to be refilled before the blaze was put out.

Pastor Sithole said the local SAPS also came to the scene later when the fire had been extinguished.

“I went to the police station the following day and the police took down a statement and a case was opened,” he said.

Sithole said the family lost everything in the fire and are renting a place in town.

He said congregants from his church, the AFM Hope Restoration Centre, and those of a local community organisation called Masincedisane, and members of various churches and the community, are assisting the family with donations and food parcels.

An appeal is being made to the KwaDukuza community to extend a helping hand to this family­.

Anyone who wishes to assist the family can contact the pastor on 082 687 4628 or his wife on 072 137 1555.

KwaDukuza SAPS communications officer, Warrant Officer Johannes Khoza said the cause of the fire is unknown at this stage.

KwaDukuza municipality communications officer Sphelelo Ngobese said: “The family does not qualify for temporary shelter in terms of council policy.

“They only qualify to receive blankets due to their monthly income, so we have acted correctly in terms of this policy feature.

“The role of our disaster department is to advise about risk and recommend special projects to eliminate harzards and also work with relevant stakeholders to assist affected communities.

“Our policy favours the most disadvantaged families,” he added.

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