Hero dad saves wife, child from fire
Jacques Steenkamp, Beeld
Johannesburg - A man first put out the flames on his own body, then saved his pregnant wife and their 3-year-old daughter from their burning home, as neighbours heard his terrifying screams.
Mduzuzi Dlamini, 30, performed these heroic deeds after doing a firefighting course just two weeks ago.
Doctors have kept him in an induced coma after he sustained burn wounds to 40% of his body.
An electrical plug is believed to have caused the fire in his home in Moffat Street, Vanderbijlpark early on Sunday morning.
The flames spread quickly through the house.
Body on fire
According to family friend, Klaas Smit, 24, Dlamini was asleep on the bed next to the power plug and woke with a fright when his body caught alight.
"Two weeks ago Mdu went on a firefighting course, which I believe saved his life.”
Dlamini ran to the bathroom. His wife Tracy said she heard how he opened taps.
"She couldn’t tell me exactly whether he jumped in the bath or threw water on himself to put out the flames,” said Smit.
Then he took his wife to safety before going to his daughter, Chloe’s, bedroom.
A member of the emergency services said Chloe’s bedroom was also ablaze, and Dlamini sustained further burn wounds while trying to save her.
Neighbours said they heard a man’s terrifying screams early in the morning and went to investigate.
They found the badly injured Dlamini and his family in the street.
Paramedics from Netcare 911 and Sedibeng EMS, as well as members of the Emfuleni fire department, were called to the scene.
"We treated the man in one of his neighbours’ houses. He was awake and calm but in a lot of pain," said a paramedic.
Dlamini was airlifted by helicopter to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.
"At the hospital, a doctor put him into an induced coma. I believe he will survive," the paramedic added.
Dlamini's wife and daughter were treated for smoke inhalation and sustained no injuries.
Half of Dlamini’s house, which he had apparently bought the previous day, was destroyed by the fire.
There was nothing left of the couple’s bedroom, their bathroom or their daughter’s bedroom.
On Sunday, a burnt-out geyser lay on the spot where their bed had previously been.
Smit said Dlamini worked for Sasol and recently moved from Durban to the Vaal Triangle with his family.
Chris Combrink, regional commander of the Emfuleni fire department, said they were investigating the cause of the fire.