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Cape Town - A mother and her four-year-old son have died in a shack fire in Parkwood, while the child’s father is in hospital after he tried to rescue them.
The fire broke out just before 4am in Parkwood on Sunday.
Veronica Abrahams and Riedewaan Slingers died in the blaze. Abrahams’ boyfriend and the boy’s father, Ebrahim Slingers, is recovering at Tygerberg Hospital.
Disaster Risk Management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said four emergency vehicles responded to the fire in Parkwood Avenue. The cause of the blaze had not been determined.
Ebrahim’s sister, Zulfa Gense, said they were playing cards when someone came to tell them there was a fire in their backyard.
“We didn’t hear, smell or see anything until someone came to tell us there was a fire, then my brother went and tried to save them and when he came out all he said was ‘Zulfa, they’re dead’, and then he collapsed.”
Gense said her brother sustained burns to his face, head, feet and hands.
“When we came out we just saw the whole place was burning. I couldn’t believe it and when my brother went inside I just screamed at him to come out, it all happened so fast.”
Gense said they were waiting for an official report on what started the fire. “(Veronica) and my brother were very close. They were always together and they were friendly people. They were soulmates.”
The couple were planning to get married, according to family friend and community leader Sandra Phillips. “They came to me about three days ago and told me that they wanted to get married... I was happy for them.”
The couple have two other children - one aged 2 and another who is four months old. Gense said she would take care of the two-year-old while the infant would be taken care of by her aunt.
In another fire, five people were left homeless after a blaze in Khayelitsha. No injuries were reported.