Practice laid to waste

2017-11-29 06:02
Photo: Boipelo Mere

Photo: Boipelo Mere

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All that the community of Ipopeng, Kimberley, could do was to stand and watch helplessly as flames engulfed the premises of Dr Sifiso Mpho Nhlapo’s practice.

According to community members, the fire started during the early hours of Saturday (25/11).

Still shocked by the incident, revelations were made about how there was no water to extinguish the fire.

It also took the fire brigade about an hour to arrive.

The Ipopeng community was among many who have suffered water shortages over the past week due to massive pipe repairs at the Riverton Reservoir by the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality.

At the time of the fire on Saturday, water was shut off for the night to help restore dam levels.

The fire was noticed by neighbours, who alerted each other, while some connected their hosepipes to put out the fire, only to realise that the taps were dry.

According to one of the neighbours, the fire was first noticed at around 02:10 on Saturday morning. The neighbour, who does not wish to be identified, alerted the others.

“By then the fire had just started, as it was only one of the rooms at the back that was burning. So we knew that we could prevent further damage by saving the rest of the building.

“While others tried to contact the fire department, the men connected their hosepipes,” says the neighbour.

The neighbour adds that the numbers provided on community information boards went unanswered, so they called 10111.

The police were reportedly the first to arrive at the scene and kept the premises clear until the fire brigade arrived, only to find the entire house had already been destroyed by the fire.

“Now we feel so bad that we could not do anything, because Dr Nhlapo has such a good reputation, due to being the most recommended doctor in our community.

“If only there was water, we could have prevented further damage.

“We are just wondering what is going to happen to his patients now, as everything seems to have burnt to ashes.”

The neighbours hope this is not the end for Nhlapo, as he comes highly recommended, especially for children’s illnesses.

The community says that the doctor has been on sick leave due to a serious car accident in August, which has reportedly left him in a coma.

Some of his existing patients still do not know what to do next.

The cause of the fire is still not known and is still being investigated.

By the time of going to print, the Galeshewe police had not yet responded to a request for comment.

The Nhlapo family has also not provided comment.

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