Fire destroys 4 families

2016-03-22 06:00
The scene of destruction in Goudini Road, Heideveld that left four families destitute after a fire this weekend. From left are Bertha Martin, a neighbour, with two of the residents who escaped the flames, Ismail Johnson and Keenan Johnson.  PHOTO: gary van dyk

The scene of destruction in Goudini Road, Heideveld that left four families destitute after a fire this weekend. From left are Bertha Martin, a neighbour, with two of the residents who escaped the flames, Ismail Johnson and Keenan Johnson. PHOTO: gary van dyk

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Four families in Heideveld have been left destitute after a backyard fire on Sunday morning destroyed all their belongings.

The smell of smoke still hung heavily in the air of the yard in Goudini Road when disaster management arrived on the scene to deliver some materials for the families to start rebuilding.

Neighbours also rallied to offer the Johnson family help.

Luckily there were no fatalities when an alert family member woke up at about 03:00 to see flames coming from dwellings in the yard.

Homeowner Rosie Johnson described how her sister, Elaine, woke up and alerted the family to the disaster.

“She screamed at us to wake up,” said Rosie. “We immediately ran to the back and shouted for our family there to wake up, because the flames were quite high already with the structure on the one side of the property.

“As they fled from the fire we were able to move the car out of the carport but we were still worried that the fire would spread to the main house.”

By this time their neighbours had been alerted, who contacted the fire brigade. Quick thinking from them played a part in preventing the fire from spreading to the main house as well as the neighbours’ property.

Neighbour Bertha Martin described how her brother Wilbur sprang into action when they were alerted.

“Our first worry was the fire spreading to our place, so Wilbur started hosing down a section of the fire and their main house, but by that time the fire was burning too fiercely,” she said.

“Luckily there was no wind so the fire did not spread so quickly but it’s so sad that our neighbours who lived in the yard have lost everything. We’re a close-knit community and the Johnsons have been our neighbours for many years, so we will help them where we can, but we really need some more help to get them back on their feet and especially the children who have lost all their schoolbooks, uniforms and clothes.

“Unfortunately, our efforts could not prevent the fire from spreading to the structures in the yard of neighbours at the back of the house, so they will also be needing help.”

Ismail Johnson, from one of the families that lost all their belongings in the fire, is consoled that there were no fatalities.

“If Elaine did not wake up at the time I don’t think I would be standing here today,” he said.

“We were all fast asleep and her shouts saved us as we just ran out. All we have is the clothes that we are wearing.”

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

V If you would like to help the families with any donations call Elaine on 081 359 9340.

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