WHILE the rest of Pietermaritzburg slept in readiness for work the next day, Alfred Ndlovu and his family were forced to watch their home burn to the ground after they escaped the building on Sunday, August 25.“Everything is gone. We had no insurance on our house and were not able to salvage anything,” said Ndlovu. However, even though they have lost everything, Ndlovu said he is happy that his family are still alive after his youngest son was able to save them all while the fire ravaged their home. Just before 9 pm, Ndlovu was woken up by his youngest son, Bongan, who was the only one awake when the fire broke out. Bongan rushed out of bed to save his father’s life before returning to get his mother and his brother, Lucky, out of the house as both members of the family were not able to walk. “If it wasn’t for my son, we would have all burned in the house along with our things. He was able to wake me up, get my wife out the house through the window and drag my other son out the house, all the while not worrying about his own life,” said Ndlovu. The house, situated on Peach Road, Woodlands, is now just a burnt-out shell, with the Ndlovu’s able to salvage almost nothing. Bongan is currently being treated at Northdale Hospital for burns and smoke inhalation. His brother, Lucky, was released from hospital after he suffered a burn on his foot. Despite feeling hopeless during their time of struggle, the Ndlovu’s were happy to receive the help of the Woodlands community, who they say have been by their side since the fire broke out. “We are thankful for the community and their help during our time of need,” said Ndlovu. Community activist Gavin Hoskins said that the community immediately rushed to the aid of the Ndlovu’s as soon as they knew about the fire, with many people already hard at work to clear the house of all the burned items and dirt from the aftermath of the fire all day on Monday. “We are currently in the process of speaking to the political heads of our community to see how they can help as well as the Department of Parks and Recreation, who have said that they will help,” said Hoskins. He said, to his knowledge, this is the second house to burn in Woodlands in the space of three months and that, like after the previous incident, the community would be there to support one of their own every step of the way.Ward Councillor Shaun Adkins said that so far they have been able to secure a wheelchair for Ndlovu’s wife, Rose, who cannot walk due to a previous accident and who had to be thrown out of a window by her son to save her life. “The family has been left destitute with everything burned, including Rose’s old wheelchair.“We will establish an organising committee to coordinate relief efforts,” said Adkins. Those who are willing and able to assist the Ndlovu family at this time can contact Hoskins at 078 616 8710.