Freak accident leaves 'hero' with first degree burns

2015-10-06 08:01


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Durban - "He disappeared behind the house and all I could see was flames… then there was an explosion and everyone ran out except for Ivan. I just screamed for him."

These were the words of Melanie Spoors, who watched her fiancé, Ivan van der Walt, vault their wall and rush towards a blaze that threatened to engulf a neighbour's home in Sarnia.

His efforts to douse the fire with a garden hose proved fruitless, so he grabbed what he thought was a bucket of water and flung it into the fire.

But the "water" was actually a chemical substance and it exploded back onto Van der Walt.

Covered in the searing heat, he plunged into a nearby swimming pool.

Speaking to News24, Spoors said her husband-to-be sustained first-degree burns across his body and was in a lot of pain, but was "okay".

"I was on the other side of the fence, so what happened is still a blur to me. When we saw their house was on fire, he jumped over the wall and went around the side of the house where the kitchen is.

"He picked up a container with chemicals and threw it onto the fire, thinking it was water. There was an explosion and it blew back over him. He was smart and jumped into the swimming pool."

Spoors hailed her fiancé's act as heroic.

"I don’t know how he did it, but I was told the explosion did something to the fire and stopped it spreading through the whole house," she said.

Read more on:    durban  |  fires

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