Fireman hero haunted by dead boy

2012-07-17 10:17

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Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal fireman has been hailed as a hero for risking his life to save a family trapped in their burning home.

But the firefighter said he was haunted by the knowledge that he was unable to save the family’s youngest boy, reported the Daily News.

Gabriel Diedericks, 49, a former fire station commander who was still a fireman, received a call at home telling him that a house nearby was on fire.

He rushed over to the house in Waterfall and with the help of two neighbours, managed to rescue 6-month-pregnant Tara Blignaut, 35, by breaking a bedroom window.

Her son Wade, 7, managed to get out the front door but the youngest, Riley, 3, died in the fire.

Diedericks said he was haunted by images of the child lying unconscious in a foetal position, with his hands over his face, looking like he was hiding in a corner, afraid.  

“I thank God that the mom and Wade are safe. But I still cannot shake the image of Riley lying on the bedroom floor,” Diedericks said.

“They have hailed me a hero,” Diedericks said. “But I am sure anyone would have done the same.”

By the time the fire brigade arrived on the scene, the lounge, where the fire was believed to have started, had been gutted.

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