While South Africans get out their braai grids and celebrate Heritage Day, a family in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, is mourning the loss of three family members who perished in a fire in the early hours of Friday.
According to Sowetan Live, the fire took the lives of couple Liberty Gurapin, his girlfriend Charne Witbooi, and their six-year-old daughter Tina Witbooi.
A spokesperson for the city fire and rescue service, Jermaine Carelse, said that firefighters made their way to the scene and found two informal structures on fire and the bodies of the father, mother, and their daughter were discovered among the debris. Unfortunately, they had already passed away when firefighters arrived.
“A family of three died in an early morning fire in Tafelsig on Friday,” Carelse said in statement.
“At 1.45am, the city’s fire and rescue service was alerted that a Wendy house in Tunnel Street was on fire and crews from Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Ottery fire stations were dispatched.”
However, the tragedy and devastation didn’t end there. According to IOL, Witbooi’s sister lives in the main house with her husband and four children, and while attempting to stop the devasting blaze, their house was ransacked as thieves helped themselves to the home’s television, clothing, furniture, cellphones, and meat from the freezer.
“The one person said he needed my cellphone to use as a light and disappeared with it. A bed and television were taken, and the children’s shoes, clothes, and the meat from our freezer. Charne was my sister, and she lived with her boyfriend and their daughter at the back,” stated Lawrence.
Police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut has stated that the cause of the fire is yet to be determined but is currently being investigated by police.
“The victims are aged six, 26, and 27. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined,” said Traut.