The home’s director in Khayelitsha, Yondela Nyongo, said the children were left traumatised after waking up to smoke and flames.
“Someone was trying to break in in the early hours and they probably couldn’t see so they lit a candle and they dropped it on the floor. The fire started in the shack at the back and spread to the house where the children sleep.”
She said the robbers were probably after some metal pieces that were kept in the shack to sell for scraps.
“This is not the first time something like this happened. In 2007 we went through something similar and we lost four kids as a result of that fire, so this is very traumatic for the kids to go through the same thing.”
Nyongo said they housed 16 people aged between 6 and 23. Some of them were busy with exams.
“They were in tears; some of them were sad because their favourite items were gone, but we have been grateful to the Gift of the Givers, who were here to assist with some donations.”
They were provided with mattresses, blankets, hot meals and non-perishable food items. They will also be provided stationery packs and clothing.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said the incident occurred at about 5am on November 13, and a case of arson is being investigated.
“It is alleged that a suspect with the intention of stealing broke into the shack, stole some items and set the shack alight.
“The investigation has led to the arrest of a 25-year-old male. He is expected to appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court once he is charged.”
The home is in urgent need of uniforms, blankets and toiletries.
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