'There was nothing anyone could do' - neighbour of Cape Town house fire

2016-06-11 14:38
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Neighbours and emergency workers tried desperately to rescue the eight people killed in a house fire in Mitchells Plain on Saturday morning.

''The flames were so big, nobody could have gone in there,'' said a shocked neighbour, speaking on condition of anonymity.

''They even broke a hole in the wall at the back of the house to get them out. They brought two people out, but their bodies were already black,'' he said.

''They even tried to break a hole in the roof to get to them,'' he said, pointing where the small semi-detached house stood gutted, a gaping hole where the roof should have been.

''I woke up with a noise and when I came out the fire was so fierce. Nobody could do anything... nothing.''

Neighbours rushed over with hosepipes until the fire engine arrived, but the flames were too fierce.

Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said when emergency services arrived, four people had already died, the youngest being a 2-year-old child.

Another three people died in the ambulance at the scene - among them a 13-year-old and a 3-year-old.  

An 18-year-old victim died on the way to hospital. Another six people were taken to hospital to be treated for burn wounds.

The circumstance of the fire were immediately investigated, with police cordoning off the scene.

Forensic investigators in blue protective suits and breathing masks worked through the blackened remains.

An inquest had been opened while police attempted to establish the cause of the fire.

A detective dog would also being brought to the house to assist.  Pastor Neville Hill, from the Love Ministry Outreach said they had attended his congregation and he described them as generous and helpful.  

''They were well known in the community. This house was very open to people who needed a roof over their head.

“That could be why there were so many people in the house,” he added.

(Jenni Evans, News24)

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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