Melissa Naidoo and her son, Dentre, with their Bibles that were salvaged in the fire. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo

Durban - While sifting through a heap of rubble, trying to salvage anything of value from their wood-and-iron home that was ravaged in a fire, a Welbedacht mother broke down in tears when she found a memorial pamphlet bearing her toddler daughter’s photograph.

It was the only picture of her little girl that was spared during the blaze that tore through her two-bedroom home last Monday.

The child, who they had named Denlissa Tyralina, had died of Myocarditis a week after turning one in 2011.

Myocarditis is a disease marked by inflammation and damage of the heart muscles. 

The causes include viral infections, auto-immune diseases and environmental toxins.

Now homeless, housewife Melissa Naidoo and her security officer husband, Denzil, both 31, still have this token of remembrance.

“All her pictures, clothes, toys and belongings that we kept in her memory are gone. Thankfully, her picture was spared and the pleasant memories of her will remain with us.”

A memorial pamphlet with the picture of their late daughter, Denlissa, is all the Naidoos have left to remember her. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo

Naidoo believes God was watching over them that day as two of their Bibles, though slightly tattered, were also found among the ruins.

Recalling what had happened, Naidoo said that at around 6.30am she had locked her front door and accompanied her sons, Dentre, 9, and Melden, 15, to the bus stop from where they would be picked up for their respective schools. 

"While returning home 15 minutes later, she noticed a home in the distance on fire in her area.

“I became concerned and tried to flag down a taxi.”

Her mother, Ruby Naidoo, and neighbours had tried in vain to distinguish the flames with hosepipes and buckets of water.

Within minutes it had spread to her mother’s five-roomed adjoining house.

Said her mother: “I was sweeping the yard when a neighbour screamed that Melissa’s house was on fire. I became frantic when I saw the flames and shouted to them to call the fire brigade.

“Some of the neighbours tried to douse the flames, but we could not contain the fire. By the time help arrived, it was too late. My daughter’s home was burnt and so were three of my bedrooms.”

Naidoo said she cried when she got to the scene.

“I could not believe what I was seeing. It was just too much.”

The couple and their youngest son are living in one of the remaining two rooms at her mother’s house, while her elder son, Melden, who has Down Syndrome, is living with his paternal grandparents in Welbedacht.

They hope to raise enough money to build another home.

“We just want to rebuild our lives and home.”

The cause of the fire has not yet been established.