Durban - A row over a parking space at a Phoenix residential complex is alleged to have led to a house being petrol-bombed on Monday night.
A man was arrested after the incident, which has left the occupants of the targeted flat so scared they are considering moving out.
Sunitha Nair, 45, and her husband Kevin, 38, of Tashmera Gardens, in Eastbury, had been sitting in their lounge chatting on Monday night, at about 10.30pm, when they heard a bang.
“It sounded like the whistling sound you hear from fireworks. And then there was an explosion,” Sunitha said on Tuesday.
“At first I thought there had been some sort of electrical problem so I told Kevin to switch everything off at the wall.”
Kevin said: “At first I thought it was a light bulb exploding, but then I saw this huge flame all over the door and window.”
The couple, who have been living in the complex for about seven years, said they had been having problems with a new tenant repeatedly taking their parking space, and had confronted him the day before.
While they did not see who had thrown the petrol bomb on their doorstep, they suspect the incident may be linked to the dispute.
The explosion shook the flat and blocked the front entrance.
“Luckily one of our neighbours acted quickly and threw a bucket of water over the flames. In the meantime we tried to get out through the back entrance, but the key broke in the lock,” Kevin said.
When the flames had died the couple said they found the remains of a beer bottle and fabric wick, which smelled of petrol.
Sunitha, a pharmacy assistant at a nearby hospital, said she often worked different shifts and irregular hours. She said that when she had arrived home from a shift on Sunday morning she found the man’s luxury car in her parking space, so she had to park elsewhere.
“Now you must remember that on Sundays people are going to church, so I had to keep reversing and moving forward so they could drive out,” she said.
“That was when my husband got really upset and approached him. He asked him to move his car so I could park mine.”
Sunitha said things got a bit heated and confrontational.
“But I asked my husband to go down there later (on Sunday) and apologise to him. We didn’t want trouble.”
Kevin added: “I apologised for my tone and we even shook hands. We really don’t know why he would do this.”
The couple have also raised the issue with Woodglaze Trading, the complex’s management company.
Police confirmed the incident and said a 27-year-old man had been arrested and charged with attempted murder and malicious damage to property.