Fire engulfs home

2016-01-26 06:00
 Kashiefa, Moegamat Amien, Quaanitah and Nabewieya Williams have lost their house in Volga Close in Portlands after a blaze tore through it. It was their family home for 37 years. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Kashiefa, Moegamat Amien, Quaanitah and Nabewieya Williams have lost their house in Volga Close in Portlands after a blaze tore through it. It was their family home for 37 years. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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He stood by helplessly and watched his life go up in flames.

After 37 years spent building a home with his wife and children, Moegammad Amien Williams and his family were left homeless after a fire engulfed their Portlands home on Saturday night last week.

The family says the cause of the fire has not yet been determined and they do not want to speculate whether it was intentionally set or an accident.

Williams, his daughter and his granddaughter were at home in Volga Close at the time.

He recalls watching TV and falling asleep, until he was woken by a piercing scream.

“I got up and walked to the kitchen. I didn’t notice anything until I went to the window in the dining room. I saw the flames were already roof high,” says Williams.

He says the blaze had started in a separate entrance where his son slept.

“I saw my son trying to douse the flames but I believe there was nothing he could do to stop it.”

Within a matter of minutes the entire house was ablaze, Williams says.

“The wind was very strong that day and the fire spread quickly. Neighbours tried to connect hose pipes and were standing on the roofs trying to put the fire out, but it was too late.” .

“I stood on the pavement opposite the road and watched my house burn down, a house I lived in for 37 years. And there was nothing I could do,” he says.

Mitchell’s Plain police arrived at the house just after midnight on the Sunday. The entire structure was on fire by that time, they confirm. The fire brigade managed to put out the blaze.

Police say they responded to a call where it is alleged that a candle fell over in the wendy house in the back of the premises.
An unidentified person was assaulted by members of the community who blamed him for the fire before police arrived on the scene. The victim received medical attention and did not make a case.
Williams and his wife, both pensioners aged 79 and 80 years old, owned the house and are no longer under bond.
After the fire, an organisation called Construction Safety Consultants (CSC) has been out to assess the structure. According to them, the majority of the remaining structure has to be demolished.
Yunus Joseph, a CSC coordinator, says the building is too damaged to be saved. They hoped to start the demolition by this past weekend.
“Our main focus now is to get Mr Williams and his wife into a structure. We are clearing the yard to get a wendy house set up and connected to electricity so the family can be together,” he says.
Joseph says the largest requirement at this time is sand, cement and building blocks to reconstruct the house.
“We need to start from scratch; everything was destroyed or damaged by the fire,” says Williams.
Through it all the family remains positive.
Williams says they are all in good health and no-one was hurt in the fire.
“It is not something we are going to complain about. It has already happened,” he says.
The family does not have home insurance.
The family says they have already received enormous support and are grateful. Among these helpers were disaster risk management, which donated goods and a bed to the family last week.

If you would like to donate to the family contact Joseph on 084 558 7162 or or call Williams on 071 493 9738.

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