JOHANNESBURG – A Free State man who lost consciousness following a brutal assault at the hands of burglars woke up to find his house on fire.
The man was rescued by a neighbour from the burning house and rushed to the hospital.
However, he died a few hours after admission to the hospital.
It is not yet known if his attackers are the ones who set the house on fire but they are still at large. Whether the cause of his death was smoke inhalation or injuries from the attacks is also not yet known.
Free State police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said Vrede officers were on patrol at about 3am on Sunday when they received a complaint of house on fire in Van Heerden Street.
On arrival, Makhele said they found the owner of the house who introduced himself as Henk Beukes, 62, covered with a blanket. It was alleged at the time that he had just been rescued from a burning house by a neighbour.
“The victim alleged that while sleeping, he heard footsteps in the kitchen and went to inspect.
“He was allegedly confronted by two males who gained entry into his house after breaking a window.
“He confronted them and they allegedly attacked him with an iron bar and knife. He tried to fight back but was overpowered, assaulted until he became unconscious.
“After a while he regained consciousness and noticed that there was smoke in the house and flames coming from another room.”
Beukes lived alone and his neighbour rescued him from the burning house and later he was rushed to Vrede hospital where he died a few hours after being admitted.
“A case of murder and arson is being investigated. No arrests have been made yet,” Makhele said, adding that it was it yet know at this stage if the intruders had managed to escape with any of Beukes’ belongings.