With fire season approaching, the Western Cape Department of Social Development has urged residents to be cautious when dealing with flames. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a fire four children and their parents were torched to death after a fire engulfed their four bedroom Bonteheuwel home.
With the summer days dawning upon us, veld fires, commonly known as “fire season”, is a crucial period for officials who not only have to increase awareness on the fire prevention but also offer support to the public affected by these tragic disasters. But residents also have a role to play, says MEC Albert Fritz.
“We really need the public to make a concerted effort not to throw their cigarette butts out the window and at night to be careful with candles,” said Fritz.
In December last year, the City of Cape Town launched the Misa Umlilo Stop the Fire campaign, intensifying the education of residents and calling on everyone to work together in preventing fires. In Cape Town, informal settlements are most prone to fires and fires this past year have left thousands displaced. The City continues to roll out a campaign to engage with residents on the importance of being responsible with flammable materials and especially vigilant with children.
The Benett family- Dylan, 1, Chadley, 2, Chadwin, 9, Florence, 25, Gail, 20, Benette and Edwin Adams, 11 died in the fire in Netreg Road just after 2am on Wednesday. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Bonteheuwel residents heard the horrid screams of the family inside the burning home. Some neighbours tried to rescue them, but by then it was too late.
Chairperson of the Bishop Lavis CPF precinct over seeing Bonteheuwel, Netreg areas, Graham Lindhorst announced that there are two possible causes that could have been responsible for the tragic blaze.
“At this stage there are two things that could have caused the fire. It could have been a candle used or electricity, but the authorities can not conclusively confirm this,” Lindhorst said.
The CPF could not meet with the family yesterday; however, they do plan to meet with the family today.
The community and remaining family members are still traumatised and trying to come to terms with the horrific incident.
MEC Fritz said they are rendering psycho-social support and other assistance to the remaining family members and family members.
“The department has dispatched social workers from the Metro north Regional office to conduct trauma and bereavement counselling,” Ngobese adds.
Social development MEC, Albert Fritz visited the family yesterday to convey his condolences to the grieving family.
“The family is still very broken and al we as a society can do is offer support through means of trauma counselling, food and clothing donations.”
He also adds that this is the second blaze out break reported for the week.
“On Monday, two minors lost their lives after a blaze broke out in Fisantekraal community near Durbannville,” Fritz explained.
VOC (Loushe Jordaan)