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Man rescues gran, three children from house blaze

Northern Cape
Kimberley – An 87-year-old grandmother and three young children were saved in a dramatic rescue after their house in Kimberley caught alight on Tuesday morning.

The house in Stokroos Street, Squarehill Park, caught fire at around 8am on Tuesday morning, while the 87-year-old woman and three of her grandchildren, aged two, three and six, were inside.

According to family members who were on the scene, the grandmother was in the bathroom when she “heard a bang” and then saw thick smoke billowing throughout the house.

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A family member is comforted by his friend after losing everything in a fire. Picture: Soraya Crowie

One of the children was awake, while the other two were still asleep when the fire broke out in the lounge.

According to Frans Bolsiec, the man who rescued the family from the house, he was driving down Stokroos Street after dropping off his child at school, when he saw “massive flames” coming from the window of a house.

“I immediately called a friend and told him to come to the house, as there was a fire and it looked like there were people inside. He arrived and we went inside the yard. Through the window we saw an old lady, who was struggling to breathe, in one of the bedrooms. We broke a window and managed to free the woman by pulling her through the broken window."

Frans Bolsiec shows where he pulled out two young children who were lying on their bed and had already started frothing at the mouth after their house caught alight in Squarehill Park. Picture: Soraya Crowie

“However, we then realised that there was also a child inside in one of the other bedrooms and we broke another window to free him."

“Neighbours then arrived on the scene and told us that there were two more children still inside the house. We didn’t know where they were so we broke every single window to try find them.

“My friend and I eventually went into the house – it was absolute chaos as we searched for them through the smoke and flames. We eventually found them – they were both lying in bed and were already unconscious. Foam was forming around their mouths by the time we reached them."

“After we got everyone out, we transported them to Floors Clinic for assistance,” Bolsiec said.

He added that he was “extremely glad” that everyone survived the ordeal and said that if he had been as little as 10 minutes late, it would have ended in tragedy.

The elderly woman and the children were then transported to Kimberley Hospital. They were admitted and treated for smoke inhalation.

During the blaze the lounge was completely destroyed, with the family’s furniture reduced to rubble, but the fire was contained by emergency services before spreading further through the house.

However, several walls in the house were also damaged, with the paint peeled off, leading to the belief that the fire could have started in the roof of the house.

Several windows in the house were also left shattered, while the smell of smoke hung in the air.

Family members stated on Tuesday that they would start as soon as possible with repairing the damage.

Police spokesperson, Captain Olebogeng Tawana, confirmed on Tuesday that police had opened an inquiry following the house fire and added that no fatalities or injuries were reported.

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