Kimberley - Four bodies had to be carried out of the mortuary at Kgalalelo Funerals in Community Road, after a burning object was apparently thrown through the window of the funeral parlour in the early hours of on Thursday morning and two coffins caught alight.
The incident occurred less than a month after three vehicles were torched outside the funeral parlour owner’s house and the business on June 2.
Employees smashed the glass window at the entrance to the mortuary, in order to retrieve the bodies that were stored in the fridges, at about 3am on Thursday morning. The bodies were transported to another facility.
Two employees, who carried out the bodies, indicated that had they arrived at the mortuary any later the bodies would have been engulfed by the flames.
“We were at the office in Galeshewe, which was also set on fire, when the police alerted us that there was a fire at the mortuary. We managed to prevent the fire from spreading to the fridges,” said the employees.
At around 3:30am, two Kgalalelo Funerals vehicles, which were parked in the garage at the offices in Magashule Street, Galeshewe, were also set on fire.
In both instances there did not appear to be any signs of forced entry.
The owner of Kgalalelo Funerals, Boitumelo Motlhatledi, stated that an elderly relative was staying in the flat adjacent to the garage.
“A neighbour noticed the flames and came running to her assistance as she had fallen into a deep sleep as a result of smoke inhalation. Thankfully she was not injured,” said Motlhatledi.
She added that the fires had caused hundreds of thousands of rands worth of damage.
“All our vehicles have now been burnt, after three vehicles including a hearse were set alight outside my home as well as the office earlier this month. We are still waiting for insurance to pay out the claim for the three vehicles that were damaged. We had to hire a vehicle for a funeral that was held yesterday.”
Motlhatledi said that the fires would not “break” her.
“Whoever is responsible, knows exactly when to strike. God will handle my battles."
“They are trying their hardest to break me but I refuse to turn back, it is business as usual.”
She said that a reward would be offered for anyone who had information that could lead to the arrest of those responsible.
Police spokesperson, Sergeant Majang Skalkie, said that two separate cases of arson as well as malicious damage to property were under investigation by the Kimberley police and the Galeshewe police.
“No suspects were arrested and the motive is also unknown,” added Skalkie.
She appealed to the community to assist with information regarding the incident and asked anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect/s to contact the investigating officer, Detective Warrant Officer Marius Vorster of Galeshewe Detective, on 082 469 0140.
“All information received will be treated as confidential.”
Skalkie added that no arrests had been made in connection with the torching of three Kgalalelo Funerals vehicles on June 2.
She said the police investigations would examine whether the malicious damage to property and arson cases were linked to each other.
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