Electric fault suspected in Northdale house fire

2016-03-21 11:00
Mano Pillay stands in the burnt Bombay Road house. Pillay was one of the first people who saw the fire and alerted emergency services.

Mano Pillay stands in the burnt Bombay Road house. Pillay was one of the first people who saw the fire and alerted emergency services. (Kailene Pillay, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Three rooms in a Northdale double-storey home were completely gutted on Saturday when a fire broke out.

The blaze was believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.

Members of Msunduzi fire department rushed to the Bombay Road house at around 4 pm on Saturday after a neighbour called emergency services when he saw flames and smoke coming from one of the windows.

“I saw flames coming out of the window and then we heard the windows shatter,” said Mano Pillay.

Pillay said neighbours rushed to the house to make sure the residents were safe.

“Thankfully there was no one inside the house at the time when the fire started.”

Msunduzi fire investigator Rodney Trenam said an initial investigation pointed to the cause of the fire being an electrical fault in one of the bedrooms.

“The sparks may have landed on some plastic bags that were in the room and caused the fire to spread across the bottom floor of the house. The bedroom, kitchen and lounge are damaged,” said Trenam.

A family who lives in the rooms above where the fire started said they saw flames outside their window.

“We saw the flames and immediately rushed out of the house. Thankfully the flames did not get into our house to burn anything but our windows did shatter,” said the tenant, who did not want to be named.

When The Witness entered the home after firefighters extinguished the flames, the heat could still be felt in the rooms. Pots and pans, the metal framework from the beds and shattered glass were lying on the floor drenched in water. The walls were black from the smoke.

The family who lives in the rooms that caught alight were not at the scene.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  fire

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