Child (4) dies in fire

2018-06-19 16:34
Little boy screamed for help from locked door.

Little boy screamed for help from locked door.

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A four-year-old child died screaming for help while trapped in a burning outbuilding at his family’s home on Friday evening.

Little Ibongwe Hlongwane could not open the door after flames engulfed the mud room at the home in Ashdown, Edendale.

His mother, Thembisile, tried her best to break down the door to save her son, but it was too late, and she suffered serious burn wounds to her face and arms.

Ibongwe, a Grade RR pupil at Ashdown Primary School, was home with his mother and grandmother when tragedy struck. He had locked himself in the outside building while his mother and grandmother were in the main house. It is believed he was playing with matches.

His aunt, Nokwanda Zuma, said that when Ibongwe’s grandfather returned home, he heard the child’s frantic screams and went to investigate.

“He saw the fire and tried in vain, using buckets of water and a garden hose, to douse the flames, but the smoke choked him. The fire was huge and I will never forget the way Ibongwe screamed for help. It was horrible,” she said, crying.

Neighbours also tried to get to the boy, but were overwhelmed by the smoke.

“He [Ibongwe] was trying to unlock the door from inside but I think he forgot how to out of panic. He kept calling out for his mother to come and help him until he could not scream anymore.”

Zuma said the outside building was gutted by the time firefighters arrived. She said when the fire was extinguished, the family members all ran in and found Ibongwe on the floor.

“He was carried out of the house, but we knew then it was too late. We were too late to save him,” she said.

“My sister and Ibongwe were very close. She cannot deal with the loss of her son. She is also badly burnt.”

Meanwhile, the Environmental Affairs Expanded Public Works programme Working on Fire in the province recorded 12 veld and forest fires in Kokstad, Buffelsdraai, Mbazwana, Ladysmith, Vryheid and Eshowe last week.

“KZN was affected by the High Danger Index, resulting in 12 fires across the province. Prompt response and tireless effort of firefighters in suppressing these fires ensured that the fires were contained.”


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  house fire
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