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A three-year-old boy died of smoke inhalation and his pregnant mother suffered second-degree burns during a fire at their Waterfall home, on Wednesday night.

Tara Blignaught, 35, who is six months pregnant, and her seven-year-old son are recovering in hospital.

Her son Riley was declared dead at the scene, said ER24 spokesman Andre Visser.

“When we got there, he was not breathing and had no pulse.”

Blignaught’s husband, Brian, is reported to be abroad on business.

The fire department’s western region division commander, Sbu Dlamini, said the fire started at about 7pm in the lounge of the Howick Drive home.

Dlamini said the brave efforts of former fireman Gabriel Diedericks saved the mother’s life.

Diedericks told the Daily News on Thursday morning that he was alerted to the fire by his son Ashley, the station commander at the Durban Central fire department.

“I live about 5km away from the scene. I was told a mother and two children were trapped in a burning house and rushed to the scene.”

Diedericks said the house was locked and he battled to gain entry.

“I used a pole from the jungle gym to smash the burglar guard and bedroom window open. I found the mother in a semi-conscious state on the bed.

“I managed to pick her up and take her outside with the help of a Blue Security guard. She mumbled the baby was in the corner.”

Diedericks said the intense smoke made it almost impossible to see or breathe.

“I had to go out several times for air. I eventually found the child. But it was too late. We tried to resuscitate him.

“Fortunately, the older child escaped through the front door.”

Dlamini said the cause of the fire was unknown.

“Our team will go out today to try and find out how the fire started. The entire lounge was gutted in the fire.” - Daily News