Neighbours, emergency personnel and police officers were brought to tears as the bodies of two young boys were carried from their wendy house which had been razed in a fire early Sunday morning in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain.
Three siblings, Shakier, 11, Shakierah, 9, and Nashrudien, 6, were asleep inside the wendy house, in the backyard of a house in Suurberg Street, when the fire broke out.
Shakier and Nashrudien both succumbed to the blaze while their sister suffered third-degree burns on 17% of her body, mostly her legs and feet, and has been admitted to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.
Their uncle, Shaheed Hendricks, who owns the house on which the wendy house was built, said he was asleep in his room but was woken up by the screams of the children as the flames ravaged through their home.
“I didn’t even see the flames from my room, and when I ran out to the back I saw the whole wendy covered in flames. There was nothing I could do and I heard the screams of the boys, but I was powerless and started weeping,” said Hendricks.
He said neighbours and his son Ashraf, 21, began putting out the flames with hoses and buckets and shovelling sand onto the flames.
Hendricks son Ashraf said Shakierah came running out the yard as he and friends were in the road. She was screaming but they couldn’t make out what she was saying.
Hendricks said the firefighters and police were moved to tears, and they asked the community members to leave the site. Red Cross Hospital’s spokesperson Darren Francis confirmed that their burns unit had received a nine-year-old girl on Sunday morning.
The City of Cape Town’s social services trauma counsellors will be providing counselling to family members and assistance from its informal settlements department.
In addition, the Mustadafin Foundation will provide humanitarian relief.
Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said a fire had broken out at a premises in Suurberg Street early on Sunday morning.
“ At 12.45am a fire enveloped a wendy house in the backyard of the address, where two children burnt to death. Another was rushed to a nearby hospital. The cause of the fire is unknown,” said Van Wyk.
He confirmed that an inquest was registered for investigation.
Meanwhile in Kensington, a fire in the early hours of Sunday destroyed 30 shacks, leaving 135 people homeless.
According to ward councillor Helen Jacobs most of the shack dwellers spent Sunday night sleeping inside the Kensington Civic hall.