Copesville father pulled neighbour out of fire

2016-08-24 09:00
Nivess Devnarrian (36) in Daymed hospital on Tuesday. He suffered smoke inhalation when he pulled his neighbour out of a burning house.

Nivess Devnarrian (36) in Daymed hospital on Tuesday. He suffered smoke inhalation when he pulled his neighbour out of a burning house. (Thabang Mathebula)

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A brave Copesville father is recovering in hospital after risking his life to save his neighbour, who was trapped in a burning house at the weekend.

Nivess Devnarrian (36), a father of one, fearlessly put his life on the line to save his neighbour, Abas Phiri, who had been asleep when his house caught fire just after 6 pm on Saturday.

It was initially reported that Phiri became his family’s hero by evacuating his family out of the flames, but The Witness has learned that Phiri’s wife was at work at the time of the incident, while the couple’s children were also away from the house. The Witness also learned that Phiri had died on Tuesday after sustaining third-degree burns.

Devnarrian, who is currently being treated for smoke inhalation in hospital, said the experience of saving Phiri from the fire had been scary.

“It was extremely terrifying, but to my surprise I just wanted to do it. I am a father and I would not have wanted to see a family without a father,” he said.

Devnarrian said the house was well alight when he and other neighbours arrived and tried to douse the flames.

“We could not hear any screams from the house, but as we went close I saw a man in the main bedroom. The roof was starting to sink into the house and he was covered by a celling that had already fallen,” Devnarrian said, adding he walked into the house after the burglar guard and wooden door had been broken and was engulfed by the smoke.

“I walked through the smoke and flames and pulled him by his feet and placed him on my shoulder. He was badly burnt but still alive,” he said.

• thabang.mathebula@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  fire

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