‘Fire haunts me’

2015-05-05 06:00

“You need to come home, your house is on fire.”

These words would send most of us into a frenzy.

For Dalene Cogill from Ocean View, her neighbour’s words, spoken more than seven months ago, continue to haunt her.

Sitting on the porch as the sun sets over the mountainside community, Cogill recalls how she sat in a line at Groote Schuur Hospital waiting to make her next appointment when she received a call informing her that her Carnation Street home was going up in flames.

“My son had just left home when the fire started. They told us it was an electrical fault that caused the fire,” she says. The blaze started in the main bedroom on the top level and quickly spread.

She was able to salvage many of her possessions in the kitchen and lounge but after months of being targeted by thieves, the Ocean View mother fears the upcoming winter months.

She worked as a cleaner in Kalk Bay and Westlake and says her employer helped her in the first few days after the fire.

“She gave me R5000 to help me rebuild but we had nowhere to sleep. So I took the money and bought this wendy house, but the skelms (thieves) have made the whole thing worse,” she says.

While moving some of her possessions, Cogill’s cellphone was stolen. She explains with no number she has been unable to contact her former employer.

When the family moved into the wendy house, opportunistic thieves made holes in the walls and stole various items.

“They came through here and stole everything,” she says while lifting a panel exposing a hole in the wall.

Now Cogill plans to rebuild her home and her life. She recently received a voucher from Mica in Fish Hoek and explains this has given her a head start.

“In the beginning, I was so worried about keeping the little I have safe and I also lost my job. My house was my pride. I worked my whole life to make sure my child had a good place to come home to.”

Proportional councillor Patricia Francke made an appeal for assistance last week.

“This is a very difficult situation and Dalene is such a good worker. We are trying to find her employment so she can rebuild. This is a very sad story,” she says.


If you would like to help, call Cogill on 072 091 9046 and Francke on 079 588 2305

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