Dad throws wife and kids out window in flat fire

2014-12-04 00:00

A FATHER desperate to save his wife and children hurled them from a burning second-floor flat in Point Road, Durban, yesterday.

And thanks to neighbours and onlookers rushing to their aid, the trio were safely caught in a blanket held by the good Samaritans responding to Alain Lokoka’s screams for help.

He recalled yesterday how he awoke to the smell of smoke at 7 am, after initially ignoring feeling a little hot. “I was disturbed at first by heat, but I thought nothing of it and went back to sleep. Then a little while later, I woke up coughing and realised the flat was ablaze,” he said.

Lokoka, a security guard, ran to wake his two daughters, Kenaya (4) and Kerene (2). His wife, Liliane, was busy in the bathroom.

“We couldn’t exit through the door because of the fire and the only other way out was through the ­window. I was not afraid, I just ­wanted to get them out,” he said.

Lokoka then screamed for help out the window, where people have ­already started gathering.

He said he first sent his four-year-old daughter out the window and as soon as she was safely caught in the outstretched blanket held below, he pushed his other daughter and wife out the window.

Freddie Kashita, who helped with the rescue, said he heard the screaming from his workplace around the corner. “They were screaming, ‘Fire’, when you hear screaming like that you must help.”

He said they were lucky.

“The mother was meant to die. She was coming down head first but the angle she was coming down saw her legs hit the green garbage bins before she landed on the ground and this broke her fall,” he said.

Neighbour Dady Bula said they did not wait for the fire department to arrive. “The staircase was filled with smoke but the door was locked. We broke down the door and started putting out the fire with buckets of water.”

Lokoka said he was devastated ­because all his valuables had been damaged.

Garrith Jamieson from Rescue Care said they, along with Durban Fire Department and SAPS Search and Rescue, responded to the call that people were trapped in the flat.

“Paramedics arrived to find all the injured outside the building. We then made sure no other people were inside the flat once the fire was ­extinguished.”

He said the four were ­treated on the scene before being taken to hospital. At this stage, it is unclear what caused the fire, however SAPS are investigating.

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