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Pretoria - The cause of a fire that killed an elderly woman in a Monument Park house is still unknown.
Tshwane Emergency Services spokesman Johan Pieterse said on Monday that a fire broke out at the residence in the Pretoria east suburb in the early hours of Sunday morning.
According to Pieterse, when the fire department arrived just after 2am, the double-storey house was engulfed in flames.
“Firefighters became aware that an elderly woman was still inside the house, but the house was fully engulfed and the fire was scorching.
“Emergency personnel made attempts to try and get the woman, but could not get to her in time. When they were able to go inside, she was found dead in the bathroom,” Pieterse said.
According to Pieterse, a man and woman who also lived in the house sustained minor injuries.
“The man sustained some burn wounds and the woman was treated for smoke inhalation,” Pieterse said.
He said the cause of the fire was still being investigated. On Monday, smoke was still visible from the gutted house.
The garage and a small section of the east side of the house seemed to be the only areas that were not damaged.
A man believed to be the owner of the house declined to comment, only saying that the reality of what had happened was still fresh and the family needed time to mourn the death of their loved one.
A neighbour told the Pretoria News that she was awoken by a commotion just before 2am on Sunday.
“I went outside and all we could see was flames. The wind was also very strong, causing the fire to spread rapidly.
“It’s very sad that the old woman couldn’t get out in time and died,” she said.
Meanwhile, a fire that broke out at the Klapperkop Nature Reserve next to the R21 highway on Sunday evening was still raging on Monday morning, and smoke and ash were billowing over the highway near Fountains Circle.
Philip de Beer, a nature conservationist from the City of Tshwane, said they had tried to put out the fire, but it had spread too fast.
De Beer said they had managed, however, to restrict the fire to one area of the reserve.
At this point, De Beer said, they could only speculate as to the cause of the fire. He said it could either be vagrants who made fires where they slept, cyclists who burnt the dense bush, or people smoking and braaiing in the nature reserve.
“There have been no incidents as far as I know and the animals all managed to flee,” he said.
Tshwane emergency services spokesman Johan Pieterse said on Monday they had the fire under control and were on standby at the reserve in case the fire spread.