Sleeping boy killed in fire

2012-08-01 00:00

THE family of a one-year-old boy who died in a fire at Imbali on Saturday night say they blame Eskom for the child’s death after a faulty meter box in their home exploded.

Vuyolwethu Khanyile’s grandmother, Albertina Khanyile, is fighting for her life in Edendale hospital after trying to save him.

The toddler was described as a happy child who laughed a lot.

His aunt, Buyi Khanyile, told The Witness that they were in another room when they heard an explosion.

She said her mother had fed Vuyolwethu and left him in the bedroom to fall asleep.

“As she was walking to the room where we were sitting, we heard a big explosion and we all ran to the bedroom. The bed was on fire. My mother tried to save the child but she could not. She also got burnt,” said Khanyile.

Neighbours responded to their cries for help and tried to save the child, some using wet blankets to try to get through the flames, but they couldn’t find the child in the smoke and flames.

The grandmother was admitted to Edendale Hospital with burns to her face and arms.

Khethukuthula Njokwe, Vuyolwethu’s uncle, said they had reported to Eskom six months ago that the electricity box was faulty.

“Eskom knew about the problem with the electricity box, but had not responded to repair it. Now we have lost our son and the house, because they did not take this problem seriously.”

The family told The Witness that the reference number they were given when they originally complained to Eskom was lost in the blaze. They said the meter box would trip if more than one appliance was used at a time. At the time it exploded, no appliances were in use.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said investigators could not rule out the possibility that the fire had been been caused by a faulty electricity meter box.

Eskom’s regional communications manager, Joyce Zingoni, said they could not comment before investigating the incident.

This incident comes four months after Mbongeni “Khehli” Hlengwa was electrocuted after slipping and grabbing an electricity pole outside his home, also in Imbali.

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