Category Archives: Lingelethu-West

Cape Argus: Nine die in horror fire

Nine die in horror fire
7 July 2010, 14:47

By Fouzia van der Fort and Natasha Prince
Staff Reporters

Five young children – one of them a six-month-old baby – and four adults have died after their home caught alight in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Two sisters, their boyfriends and their children were trapped in their Lingelethu-West home when the fire started at about 2am – and frantic relatives and neighbours were unable to rescue them as the door was bolted shut on the inside.

Sisters Marche, 30, and Nomampondo Mdla, 26; Marche’s boyfriend, Bulelani Nqundwana, 38, and Nomampondo’s boyfriend, David Khoboka, 33, and the sisters’ five children died in the fire.

Nomampondo’s eight-year-old daughter Asimahle Mdla, and Marche’s sons – Aviwe, 5, Luxolo, 4, and Spumzo, who was six months old – and daughter Andisiwe, 3, also did not survive the blaze.

Marche and Nomampondo’s brother, 22-year-old Lufefe Mdla, said he believed the fire had been caused by candles which his sisters were using to light their home after their prepaid electricity meter “exploded” about a month ago.

Mdla, who lives in a house in front of his sisters’ home, said he had been woken in the early hours by neighbours who told him the house was on fire.

He knocked on the door of his sisters’ house and looked through the window and seen flames.

He told the Cape Argus he had tried to open the door, but found that it was locked. “I couldn’t do anything.”

Mdla then phoned his mother, who called police and fire services to the scene.

Neighbours were unable to open any of the house’s doors, because one was chained shut and a crowbar was keeping the other closed. Firefighters had to break the door down.

Lingelethu-West police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Siphokazi Mawisa said police had been contacted at about 2.30am.

Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services’ Theo Lane said two fire tenders, two water tenders, one rescue vehicle and about 18 firefighters and rescue personnel had been dispatched to the scene.

The fire was extinguished quickly, with the last vehicle leaving just before 3.40am. Police were still on the scene at about 8am, carrying out a final check inside the structure, which was still standing.

Mdla said his sisters were “always together”. He said they were very close, and had been good friends. He had visited them every day after work and the siblings had eaten meals together.

He was going to move in with his mother for a few days, Lufefe said.

David Khoboka’s sister, Boniswa, said her mother, who lives in the Eastern Cape, had been taken to hospital after hearing the news of her son’s death. “We don’t know yet what we are going to do. We waited from 3am to make sure whether they were dead or still alive.”

City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said the fire had started when a candle fell on to a plastic chair. “We encourage people to put out their candles, open flames and lamps at night before going to sleep,” he said.

* This article was originally published on page 1 of The Cape Argus on July 07, 2010