Staff rush 20 toddlers to safety as fire spreads at playschool

2017-09-22 13:33
About 20 toddlers had to be evacuated after the Scottsville playschool they were in caught alight on Thursday morning.

About 20 toddlers had to be evacuated after the Scottsville playschool they were in caught alight on Thursday morning. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - Panicked parents rushed to fetch their toddlers from the Rascals on Ridge playschool after the house it operated from caught alight on Thursday.

A fire gutted the house, situated on Ridge Road in Scottsville, at around 10.30am on Thursday morning. Some 20 children were evacuated from the burning house.

Emergency services confirmed that none of the children were injured or suffered smoke inhalation. Firefighters battled the blaze in the panhandled house while the children were taken to a neighbour’s property for safety.

It is believed that sparks from a welding machine that was being used nearby may have caused the fire, but officials at the scene said an investigation would be conducted to confirm this.

A source told The Witness that the sparks from the welding machine “flew onto something and before you knew it the fire was spreading”.

Spokesperson for ER24 Andrew Rogers said they also treated three adults, including the man who was operating the welding machine, for smoke inhalation but they did not need hospital attention.

“By the time we got there, all the children were already taken to another property so there was no child that suffered smoke inhalation. Every child was checked before being released into their parents’ care,” Rogers said.

Neighbours told journalists that the home owner was “too distraught and busy” to speak and numerous calls from The Witness later were not answered.

A parent at the scene, who asked not to be named, said they were “just glad that all the children were safe”.

“The children are a little shaken and crying but they are safe and unharmed and that is most important. The owners of the house are devastated and right now they are just trying to salvage what they can,” said the woman.

Parents looked panicked while rushing onto the neighbours’ property but as they left with their children in hand, some crying, they looked relieved.

Other residents living near the Ridge Road property assisted the home owners and emergency services to remove undamaged items from the house. Ridge Road was closed to traffic for about two hours until the scene was cleared.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  fires

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