Mysterious fires that apparently ignite spontaneously have over the past two weeks destroyed the home and belongings of a family in Hopewell near Thornville, Pietermaritzburg, News24 reported on Monday.
The freakish fires have burned through the Mthembu family's main house, two low-cost houses in the yard and another low-cost house belonging to the children, across the street from the main family home.
Neighbours, fire-fighters and managers from the Richmond municipality and uMgungundlovu district disaster management teams agreed that this was the first fire of its kind they had ever witnessed.
They told the Witness newspaper that they saw the fire start spontaneously and burn through things that had been pulled from the house.
Richmond municipality disaster management's Musa Ndlovu said they organised counselling for the family.
“This family has been heavily traumatised.
“This kind of fire is not a normal fire. It is something that we have never seen before.”
Ward councillor Bonginkosi Shange said that even the fire-fighters who had been called to the scene were puzzled.
Owner of the house Mashoba Mthembu said the fires begun almost two weeks ago on her bed.
“It first burned through my bed and it burnt it halfway.”
She said that after her bed was burnt, the fire raged through each of the bedrooms, consuming mattresses first and then the whole rooms.
So far it has burned about four bedrooms in the main house.
“At first we thought that it was children who were just playing with fire and accidentally caused it, but the matter came to a head on yesterday (Sunday) when the fire became uncontrollable.
“It burned through everything. If you put it out here, it will start somewhere else.” - Sapa