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Death from fire: Couple’s death left residents in pain

Fisantekraal residents in Cape Town are shaken following the death of a couple and their daughter in a shack fire on Monday 12 February. The incident happened around 00:30 on Saartjie Baartman. The deceased are David Byron (23), his girlfriend Namhla Nozombile(29) and their daughter Zenazi Nozombile who was born in June 2023.

Besides the deceased couple and their child, another person was rushed to the hospital with serious burn wounds. According to a fire survivor Charles Watson(39) from Malawi, the fire could have been started by a candle. An hour before the fire, David asked for candle from one of his neighbours.

Death from fire: Couple's death left residents in pain
Forensic Pathology workers and police officers busy at the fire scene in Fisantekraal earlier on Monday. Photos by Ezitshisayo

“He wanted some light since it was load shedding, he wanted to have light since they had a baby in the house. I suspect that the candle fell and the fire started from there,” said Watson. Since he was a neighbour to the deceased, Watson said he managed to escape but he lost everything.

David’s brother James Nomabhalo(31) said he is heartbroken by the death of his brother. “I do not know what to say, we said good night to each other as we went to sleep last night I didn’t know that he was going to die. I’m still shocked and hurt,” he said.

Sabina Sitimele survived but with burn wounds on her face and hands. She said, during the fire she heard the deceased crying for help but she had to run with her life since the flames were growing big.
“I couldn’t do anything because the fire was big, I was nearly trapped by the fire inside my shack, but I managed to run out. My hands are burnt because I have to run through the fire,” she said.

Death from fire: Couple's death left residents in pain
Police officers and Forensic Pathology workers at the scene were three people died in Fisantekraal on Monday morning. Photos by Ezitshisayo

Fire and Rescue spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said six shacks were destroyed. “At approximately 00:50 an emergency call was received of a structure alight in Saartjie Baartman Street. Crews from Durbanville, Kraaifontein and Atlantis were dispatched to the scene.

“By 02:30, firefighters extinguished the blaze that destroyed six informal structures and left several persons displaced. Sadly, a man, woman and a minor (gender unknown), who sustained fatal burn wounds, were discovered under the debris,” said Carelse.Little Zenazi also died in shack fire.

Western Cape province police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said police were called to the scene around 01:40.

“Upon arrival in Saartjie Baartman, Fisantekraal at around 01:40 they found a shack completely destroyed by a fire. When the fire was extinguished, they discovered three unidentified bodies amidst the rubble. The victims were declared deceased on the scene by the medical personnel,” said Swartbooi.


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