Durban - Quick thinking neighbours saved the life of Lolly Singh, 53, by pulling her, unconscious, from her Sunningdale home which was engulfed by flames on Friday.
Singh was heard screaming as flames spread through her house. She then lost consciousness when overcome by smoke.
Breaking through locked doors and burglar bars as the house went up in flames, Sagie Naicker and two of his employees, Lucky Biyela and Lucky Chiwala, pulled the badly burnt woman from her smoke-filled bedroom.
“I was on the telephone and I heard the lady screaming,” said Naicker. “I asked my staff to go and see what was wrong
“I went out and saw the house was on fire and she was still screaming, trapped inside. We all jumped over the fence and managed to tear the burglar bars off a back door then break down the door. The flames were already burning through the ceiling.”
Naicker said he and his workers found an unconscious Singh lying on the floor.
“The windows were exploding and we were all covered in small shards of glass. We pulled her out and dragged her into her yard.”
The three men also managed to save Singh’s dog, uninjured. Naicker is looking after it while Singh recovers.
Singh’s daughter, Josephine Govender, said she had been busy at work when her phone started ringing non-stop.
“When I eventually picked up, someone told me my mom had been badly burnt and I just went cold,” she said.
She thanked her neighbours for their bravery, “I am so grateful they put their lives on the line for my mother, and I have never even met them… I’m really thankful.
“I haven’t even seen the house. I’m just so worried about my mom. She is my priority. Just before my father died, I promised him I would buy a house and look after my mother. It took me 10 years to buy this property, now it has all gone up in smoke,” she said.
Netcare911 spokesman Chris Botha said the cause of the fire was unclear and that Singh had been critically injured. Once stabilised, she had been transferred to Addington Hospital.
In the aftermath of the fire, eThekwini Metro fire-fighters walked through the house, stepping over the remains of smouldering furniture. The roofless structure had a security guard posted at its entrance to prevent looting.