Mother and baby die in shack fire

Pretoria - A mother and her three-month-old daughter burnt to death when their shack in Siyahlala, on the outskirts of Atteridgeville, went up in flames.

It is not clear what caused the fire, and why the mother and child could not escape.

File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu. Credit: Independent Newspapers

Naledi Thungela, 24, and her daughter, Thato, died when their shack caught alight. The dead woman’s brother, Elliot Thungela, said they were still in shock and finding it hard to come to terms with the deaths.

“We are not sure what caused the fire because it happened in the afternoon.

“We could have blamed it on a candle or a neglected paraffin stove if it happened at night, but it is hard to pinpoint the cause at this stage,” said Thungela.

The fire broke out at about 11am on Monday. A neighbour, who refused to be named, said he saw the flames when he was on his way to the shops and ran to try and rescue the mother and infant. “Everything happened quite fast. There was a lot of confusion because everyone was trying to get buckets to help put out the fire,” he said.

Tshwane Emergency Services spokesman Johan Pieterse advised residents in Pretoria to be careful throughout this week as temperatures dropped. “People need to be careful when they use heaters,” he said.