Tenants lose everything as house burns

2013-06-14 00:00

A SUSPECTED electric fault may have caused the fire that swept through rented rooms in a Boom Street house yesterday morning.

No one was home at the time.

Abdul Malich, who rents a room with five friends, told The Witness that he was out when the fire started. “I was in Church Street when I received a call from our neighbour telling me that the house was on fire.

“I rushed here to find that our room was in ashes. We lost everything. We only have the clothes we were wearing left.”

Three rooms of the house were burnt while a fourth one was saved by firefighters who extinguished the blaze before it was destroyed .

Boom Street was closed between Boshoff and Retief streets as two fire engines, police, traffic cars and ambulances were on stand-by.

The tenants were in tears, some crying hysterically, when they realised all their belongings had been destroyed.

Sibiya Ochi, who arrived just as the fire was extinguished in her room, was overcome with emotion and collapsed on the floor. Ochi was inconsolable.

Thobani Ndlovu, another resident, said he first smelled the smoke.

He then went outside and saw that the rooms at the back of the house were on fire.

According to Msunduzi fire department investigator Rodney Trenam the fire appeared to have started in the middle of the room.

“I haven’t been able to determine the cause. I can see the area where it started.

“I’ve checked the stove and the cooking area. I checked the food that was left in the pan, and it wasn’t burnt onto the bottom of the pan, so there is no indication that the fire started in that area.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to find any more than what I have discovered,” said Trenam.

While there was a possibility that the fire may have been caused by an electric fault, he did not want to speculate.

The owner of the house did not want to comment to The Witness . He said he was too distraught.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said no foul play is suspected and no case was opened.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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