The Mercury: 5 children killed in shack fires

Bernadette Wolhuter, The Mercury

Durban – Two fires claimed the lives of five children – all under the age of 7 –  in Durban, early on Sunday morning.

In both incidents, it’s believed the children were left unattended by their parents.

In Fannin Road in Wyebank, in the outer West of of the city, 6-year-old twin girls Snegugu and Snenhlanhla Mtolo and their 3-year-old sister – Esihle – were killed when the shack they were sleeping in caught alight at around 2am. 

Apparently, their mother was not home at the time but the girls’ screams for help, woke their neighbour.

He tried to rescue them but he was unable to break down the door.

Initial investigations suggest the three had been locked in. A source said the children were burnt beyond recognition.

The cause of the fire was on Sunday, unknown.

Meanwhile at around the same time in Phoenix, north of Durban, it is believed a burning candle fell over, setting fire to a small block of rooms.

Eight-month-old Nikita Lembethe and her 5-year-old sister, Sju, were killed. Their parents were also not home at the time.

Again, neighbours tried to come to their aid but they could not get inside and had to wait for the fire fighters. By the time they arrived, the children were dead.

It is believed they, too, had been locked in.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said inquest dockets were being investigated.