Firefighters were forced to abandon their duties when a group of Delft residents attacked the crew on scene. The interfering party is being blamed for the death of a family, twin brothers and their parents, who all died in the wendy house fire, reports IOL.
It is alleged that the fire was caused by a lit candle that wasn’t put out. The inferno trapped the family, killing them instantly. Amongst the debris were the bodies of the family, including those of the six-month-old twin boys.
Police have opened a death inquest for investigation, with the cause of the fire yet to be confirmed.
As reported by News24, the shack had already burned to the ground upon the City Fire Service’s arrival. However, the on-duty firefighters were then attacked by some of the residents.
A confrontation between a firefighter and a Delft resident was followed by the entire crew packing up and leaving the scene, whereafter, they refused to return even after being offered police escort.
Community leader, Dineo Masui, said the following to IOL:
“I was so disturbed and confused by what happened. I don’t understand how firefighters could just up and leave a scene like that. The fire was still burning and bodies lying in the open like that.
“I know there was a confrontation between one of their team members and one of the area’s residents, who was upset at the crews for arriving late to the scene. However, I had not foreseen the disaster that would stem from that.
“Everything went downhill at a scene already so sensitive. I struggled alone to get the firefighters to come back to the scene and the police to assist me. The family was there and residents looking on at the dead family. We could even see the children, their small bodies. It was horrible, and I can’t imagine worse for that family’s three surviving children.”
“The crews were verbally assaulted, threatened, and one staff member was manhandled,” said Jermaine Carelse (the City’s fire service spokesperson). He continued to say that she was not that the crews left, as they feared for their lives.
“Fearing for their safety, the crews returned to their various stations, only to return under police escort.
“What the community may be overlooking is how they stood by and took no initiative to pacify tensions or offer our firefighters support. Firefighters are in constant attack in local communities and their choice to leave volatile environments is justified.”
Masui, however, said that though she does not condone the behaviour of the Delft residents, she remains disappointed in the crews response.
“For me, that was the third fire I had to attend to this weekend in my area. Not to say much but, what I witnessed this weekend was completely sad and disappointing.
“Incidents like these are so traumatic and can only be bearable if we work together than in factions, like we did this Sunday. If we are to think back, we managed to expose innocent children to even more trauma unnecessarily over something we could handle better as adults.”
The family’s three survivors, aged between 9 and 17, have been placed in the care of their aunt, Jo-Anne Moses.
— eNCA (@eNCA) April 5, 2021