Cremator catches fire

2009-06-29 00:00

THE burner room in the crematorium at the Mountain Rise cemetery caught alight on Friday night, allegedly as a result of an explosion from a pacemaker in the body it was burning.

The incident has added to concerns about the state of the city’ crematorium.

A man who did not want to be identified said a solution to the problems at the crematorium is long overdue because most of the time the cremators are either not serviced or not working at all.

Speaking to The Witness, he said: “We had left our loved one’s body for cremation and returned later to collect the ashes. When we came back, the building was already on fire and it had even started to spread to the roof.

“However, the caretaker was able to give us the ashes and the Fire Department was called to the scene.”

He said the family was upset to find a body that was half-burnt when the incident happened.

“The Msunduzi Municipality has to attend to this issue of the crematorium as it is inconvenient for people cremating their loved ones. Sometimes they have to go as far as Durban because we do not have a decent crematorium.”

The Fire Department confirmed it had sent a crew to attend to the incident.

Msunduzi Municipality’s director of Parks and Recreation, Steven Naick, said he is aware of the incident and is waiting for investigations to be finalised.

“It is alleged the body might have had a pacemaker which caused the explosion. A tender was awarded by the municipality to a contractor to refurbish the crematorium,” he said, .

Work is already under way at the crematorium, he added.

Cremations are still being carried out in a new cremator which was recently installed.

The Witness has written several articles on the malfunctioning cremators, which take over two hours to incinerate a body. It should normally take betwen hour and 90 minutes.

Last year The Witness reported that a family carried out the last rites themselves when a delay forced the priest hired to conduct the service to leave early to to honour another commitment. There have been complaints that priests are forced to conducted funerals at night because of the faulty cremator.

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