Cape Town - A Bridgetown family has been struck by a double tragedy after first losing their beloved mother, and then just a few hours later, watching their home go up in flames.
The Mentor family of Duiker Road has now postponed the funeral to next week as they try to cope with their loss.
Their mother, June Mentor, 65, passed away on Wednesday morning following a long battle with cancer.
That same day, their house was gutted while they were still raw with grief.
Family spokesperson and long-time friend, Leeroy Booysen, says the family is overwhelmed with the timing of the tragedies.
He says the family of six, including four-year-old twins, lost everything in the blaze.
“The fire started in the back room, we’re not sure how. It was a small flame at first and we tried to extinguish it but as soon as air came in the fire spiralled out of control,” says Leeroy.
“It was burning the curtains and bed and we could not contain it even after we threw sand and water on the fire,” Leeroy explains.
Three men were hospitalised for smoke inhalation.
Leeroy says the family is devastated.
“Their mother, June, lost her fight against cancer and hours later the house burns down. It’s a lot to take in all at once,” he says.
“The prayer meeting was supposed to be tonight (Thursday) at the house, but had to be moved to another venue."
“The funeral that was to take place on Saturday is now moved to next week. They literally lost everything.”
He says residents came out to assist and guard the gutted house.
“I really commend everyone who came out to help and many of us didn’t sleep. Those who did, slept on the field opposite the house as we sat up making sure no one steals anything.”
Community worker, Sandra Adams, is appealing for assistance for the family.
“We are making sure they eat. This family, already grief-stricken, needs assistance with anything,” she says.
Spokesperson for the City’s Fire and Rescue, Theo Layne, says the fire started at 9:40pm and was extinguished by 10:30pm.
“Three adult males who suffered smoke inhalation were treated on the scene and transported to hospital by ambulance. The fire has left six persons displaced and the cause of the fire is undetermined,” he says.
If you would like to assist the family, contact Leeroy at 083 627 5838.