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‘Imbawula’ kills five in Joburg

Johannesburg -

Four children and a man were found dead in two cases of carbon monoxide poisoning on Thursday, Johannesburg emergency services said.

File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu. Credit: Independent Newspapers

A two-month old girl, a four-year-old boy and another girl, 12, were found dead in Appolonia Street, Troyeville, around 8.30am, spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said.

The family of five are believed to have lit a small “imbawula” fire inside their house and inhaled the toxic fumes.

An imbawula is a makeshift coal stove made out of a large tin with holes in the side; it is designed to burn for a long time.

The children's mother and a six-year-old boy were taken to Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in a critical condition.

In a separate incident, a man, 26, and a 16-year-old boy were found dead in a shack in Diepsloot Extension Two around 9.30am, Mulaudzi said.

They had also used an imbawula in their home and died from inhaling carbon monoxide.

Neighbours called the fire department in both instances.

Mulaudzi cautioned against the use of small fires inside households.

“People need to look after their heating and lighting appliances and use the imbawula outside their homes,” Mulaudzi said.

“We need to make sure that everyone is safe... (During) these cold temperatures.” - Sapa

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