Ancestral home burnt

2016-01-19 06:00
The stricken remains of a charred bed stands in the ruin of 24 Third Avenue, Bokmakierie after a fire ravaged the home belonging to the Jacobs family. PHOTO: Melvin lawrence

The stricken remains of a charred bed stands in the ruin of 24 Third Avenue, Bokmakierie after a fire ravaged the home belonging to the Jacobs family. PHOTO: Melvin lawrence

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A Bokmakierie family is still counting losses after it lost everything in a fire which engulfed the family home last weekend.

Farouk Jacobs (37) left for work on Saturday 9 January only to return an hour later to what had once been his home.

Jacobs’s wife Jasmine (32) woke to find the house had no power. Upon switching on the main electricity box, she saw a small flame spark from one of the switches in her son’s bedroom.

Jasmine alerted a neighbour, Maruwaan Fernandez, to help douse the flames.

Fernandez switched off all the electrical appliances in the house as well as the main switch, but by the time he had come back to put out the blaze, the house was already engulfed in smoke.

“My sister’s children were at the back and we then took all the children out. Luckily my other three children were not at home, because they were at their uncle’s in Bonteheuwel,” Jasmine says.

“When the flame was still small, Maruwaan ran for the flame and I ran for the children and I (then) left (the house) and that is how everything happened so fast.”

She recalls the shock, horror and emptiness she felt as the blaze enveloped the property her family has called home for more than 70 years.

“I was sitting on the pavement on the road and as the roof blew off, the windows blew out. It felt so unreal.

“There is nothing left, nothing at all.”

Farouk says he was at work when he received a call that his house had burnt to the ground.

“It took 20 to 30 minutes for the whole house to burn down, but there was help from neighbours and they were incredible. The community stood together to try and save the house, but unfortunately the wind was too strong to do anything.”

Farouk’s brother lives next door and is giving the family a place of refuge. The Jacobs couple lived in the house with Jasmine’s father and their four children.

“At the moment we are waiting for a structural engineer to come. We are living on the premises in the wendy house. We are nine kids and five adults living in the wendy house. Unfortunately there isn’t any electricity. There was nothing in the house which could have been saved.”

Three of the outside walls may remain. It was assessed that the entire internal structure of the house would have to be demolished and rebuilt.

“For us to survive now at the moment, we need groceries and toiletries. A lot of people gave clothes, but most of them do not fit all the kids. My son of 10 years; he doesn’t have a lot, as well as the baby.”

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