Toddler dies on his birthday in Knysna fire

George - The boy who died in the Knysna fire on Wednesday had been celebrating his third birthday, while his mom, who also died, was eight months pregnant.

This has been revealed by Tony Johnston’s brother-in-law, Wynand Stander, Netwerk24 reported on Thursday.

The bodies of Tony, his wife Madré and 3-year-old Michael were found outside their house on the farm Kalanderkloof in the Elandskraal area. According to the police they had been overcome by smoke.

Wynand said Tony’s parents, Thomas and Nielen Johnston from Uitenhage, became concerned on Wednesday morning when they couldn’t get hold of their son. It apparently was tradition that they would sing a birthday song for Michael on his birthday.

“They also phoned Tony’s boss in Knysna, only to be told that he hadn’t pitched for work."

According to Stander the employer drove to Johnston’s house. On his way there he met up with police and they went to the house together, where they found the bodies.

The employer tried to phone Johnston’s parents, but the cellphone reception wasn’t good. Just after breaking the news to them, the cellphone died.  

“They immediately drove to Knysna,” said Stander. There they confirmed with police that all three had died.

Stander said the Johnstons were a close knit family. “They loved one another,“ he said.

A memorial service is to be held for the family at Humansdorp next week Thursday. The couple and their son will be cremated. 


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 858 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 9812 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 1145 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
18.06
-0.3%
Rand - Pound
20.10
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.63
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.55
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.4%
Gold
1,705.55
-0.4%
Silver
20.44
-1.1%
Palladium
2,275.00
+0.6%
Platinum
930.00
+0.5%
Brent Crude
94.42
+1.1%
Top 40
59,180
-0.4%
All Share
65,528
-0.5%
Resource 10
62,829
-0.7%
Industrial 25
79,632
-0.5%
Financial 15
14,006
+0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE