Fire robs him of his pride and joy

2015-05-12 06:00
62-year-old Desmond Leonard’s home was destroyed.

62-year-old Desmond Leonard’s home was destroyed. PHOTO: cHEVON bOOYSEN

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A 62-year-old pensioner is distraught after his home of more than 12 years went up in flames on Tuesday last week.

Desmond Leonard was devastated as his wendy house in Lavender Hill burned.

Leonard has been living in his aunt’s backyard for more than a decade. Family members say the home was his pride and joy.

He tells emotionally that he was too late to save any of his belongings. “I received the call just after 13:00 from my aunt’s granddaughter. They just told me my house was on fire,” he says.

Leonard says at the time he got the call he was visiting family in Steenberg. “When I got the call I did not even wait to get a lift or taxi home, I just ran straight home. I wanted to see what I could salvage from the fire, thinking I could make it in time,” Leonard says.

Unfortunately, Leonard was too late. When he arrived at his house, it was already engulfed in flames with neighbours trying to extinguish the fire until the fire brigade arrived.

Leonard’s aunt, Yvonne Meyer, also tells emotionally how she received the news while her family was visiting.

“We were sitting in the lounge when my daughter saw someone go into the yard. A few minutes later we heard a knock on the back door and the man asked us if we knew it was burning at the back,” she recalls.

Meyer says they were shocked. They ran outside to see what the man meant and were met with the blazing fire in their backyard.

“We tried everything to stop the fire. We are so thankful for our neighbours who pitched in to help but it was just a little too late,” she says.

Meyer says even though it is sad that Leonard will be without a home now, she will take him into her home.

Leonard says he does not know how he will recover from this loss because he is a pensioner and has no finances to build a new home. “I cannot think of erecting another wendy house now. It will cost too much.”

The family suspects there could have been an electrical fault. “I knew that there was a problem with switches and I would always put off the plugs before I left home in the morning. I checked it the same morning,” Leonard says

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