Brendan Petersen, a relative of five people who were killed in a wendy house fire in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, along with a friend, Marvin Lewin, try to clear the debris. The wendy house became engulfed in flames on Saturday night. | PHANDO JIKELO African News Agency (ANA)
Brendan Petersen, a relative of five people who were killed in a wendy house fire in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, along with a friend, Marvin Lewin, try to clear the debris. The wendy house became engulfed in flames on Saturday night. | PHANDO JIKELO African News Agency (ANA)

Toddler survives fire that killed five people

By Chevon Booysen, Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Jul 26, 2021

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Cape Town - Two-year-old Zahier Muller is the sole survivor of a fire that ravaged a Tafelsig wendy house, which claimed the lives of five people at the weekend.

Obin Van Wyk, 49, Rosetta Arendse, 64, Franklin Peters, 18, Stephanie Muller, eight, and Rabia Muller, six, perished in the fire that broke out in a wendy house, in Buffelshoek Street.

Fire and rescue service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said the victims were declared dead on the scene and one boy was treated for burn wounds.

“The City’s fire and rescue service was called at 4.08am and was told that children were trapped inside a burning structure.

“When crews from Mitchells Plain fire station arrived at the scene in Buffelshoek Street, they found a wendy house engulfed in flames.

“The fire was extinguished at 5.10am and the scene was handed over to the SAPS,” said Carelse.

Police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said Mitchells Plain police have opened an inquest docket.

“The cause of the fire is yet to be determined. A post-mortem will be conducted to determine the identities of the victims,” said Traut.

Ward councillor Washiela Harris said the toddler Zahier had been saved by a community hero and a neighbour of the family, John Dreyer.

"Dreyer had braved the fire when he saw the informal structure go up in flames and heard the cries of Zahier from inside the wendy house.

“He managed to save the boy, but was unaware that the two girls were also inside.

“He was traumatised by the incident, but is at home and doing okay, despite his hair being scorched.

"The children, who are from Eastridge, had been visiting their grandmother Arendse for the weekend.

“It is unclear what started the fire, but it has caused a great deal of devastation.

“The fire ripped away a grandmother and her grandchildren.

“The mothers of the children are also devastated, as they deal with the loss of their mother and children," said Harris.

Harris said the community managed to contain the fire so it could not spread to neighbouring properties.

"The community really rallied together, and we commend them for their efforts and help. It was devastating, but we are grateful that further harm was avoided," said Harris.

According to Harris, after speaking to the family, it was noted that the family would not be able to carry the cost of the burial and the City would be assisting with burial costs.

Cape Times

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