Cleaner lauded for heroic action in flat blaze
By Duncan Guy and Frank Chemaly
Durban - Quick thinking saved the day as fire engulfed a second-floor flat in the block Carillon on Florence Nzama Street on Durban’s South Beach on Friday.
Residents hailed Siphiwe Zungu, who works as a cleaner in the building, as their hero. He showed the Independent on Saturday how he rushed up the stairs to the flat above, leaned out of the window with the fire-hose and trained it on the flames in the flat below to quell them.
Residents cheered him on, saying he stopped the fire engulfing the rest of the block.
This was especially pertinent as one resident, who would not be named, said the fire brigade couldn’t gain access to the fire from the front of the block and had to reroute into the small cul de sac, Crieff Place, to attack the blaze from the back.
He described the fire as ferocious and was full of praise for Zungu.
It is believed a domestic worker and small child escaped from the flat unharmed.
Zungu, 33, said his quick reaction came from dealing with emergency situations, swimming as a child in the Thukela River.
“The water was always so fast, and people were always in trouble. I would help them,” he said.
Zungu said he once had to act quickly against a crocodile.
“I was fishing, and it came after the fish I had beside me. I had to get away very quickly.”
Adding to his skill was his playing number nine for his local football team in Maphumulo.
“Yes, I am always quick.”
Durban Fire Department spokesperson Trevor Stevens said the fire was confined to a couple of rooms in one flat and there were no injuries.
The Independent on Saturday