Local news

Grieving family warns community about house fires caused by load-shedding

The deaths followed a disastrous fire at Tshabalala’s home in Ext 28, Vosloorus, sparked by a power surge when the power was restored in the early hours of May 20.

The catastrophic loss of lives has gravely affected the Tshabalala family from Ext 14, Vosloorus, leading them to reach out to the public and caution them about fire disasters as winter begins.

The grieving Tshabalalas are devastated by the sudden death of the pillar of the family, Thembi Tshabalala, and her 14-month-old daughter.

The deaths followed a disastrous fire at Tshabalala’s home in Ext 28, Vosloorus, sparked by a power surge after the power was restored in the early hours of May 20.

Tshabalala lived with her two daughters, aged 14 and 10, and they were all asleep when the fire started.

According to the family, a power surge ignited the fire, and the flame moved toward the fridge’s gas cylinder, causing an explosion.

When Tshabalala awoke after the explosion, it was dark, and smoke filled the shack.

She struggled to find the key to open the door but managed to help her oldest daughter escape through a window.

A neighbour who saw what was happening ran to the shack and broke the door to save Tshabalala, who was in shock and only partially unconscious.

Catching her breath after being rescued, Tshabalala realised her youngest daughter was still inside. Her neighbour went back inside the burning shack to save the child, but, unfortunately, it was too late, and the child had died.

Thembi Tshabalala passed away on May 21 after her home caught fire.

Tshabalala was taken to Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital (TMRH) for medical treatment but died the next day.
The neighbour who risked his life to save the family broke his hand and sustained cuts while trying to open the door. He is receiving medical treatment at TMRH.

Tshabalala’s aunt, Sibongile Mdunge from Extension 8B, Orange Farm, told Kathorus MAIL that the family was hurting and grieving another family loss.

“Community members, we want to make you aware that many of us will die because of load-shedding issues. We are very hurt. I do not even know how to begin to explain this,” said Mdunge.

She described Tshabalala as a sweet and humble person who loved her family.

“She was like an angel. I know we usually lie when a person has passed on, but everyone knows the kind of person she was.

“What hurts me the most is that she lost her partner and father to her children in February. In less than two months, we lost her and her child.”

Tholakele Maphanga, the deceased’s cousin, said she was in Orange Farm, where she lives when she received the terrible news.

She said that on Saturday night (May 20), she received a WhatsApp message informing her about the accident and on Sunday, she received a call that her cousin and her youngest daughter had died.

“Who will I talk to? And who will check on me?” she lamented.

“We used to check on each other every two days, especially because she was still mourning the passing of her husband, who died in February,” said Maphanga.

She said she was not coping and did not think she would get over Tshabalala’s tragic demise at this moment in time, considering how they died.

“When a person dies from an illness, that is something else, but when they die due to fire caused by load-shedding, it becomes worrying because load-shedding will not end soon. We are approaching winter, so people must be aware and cautious.”

Tshabalala’s front opposite neighbour, Zandile Zondo*, who wished to remain anonymous, told Kathorus MAIL that the disaster occurred while she was at work.

Zondo was informed by telephone after she returned her daughter’s missed calls on that fateful morning at 05h30.

She said this was not the first incident. In March, her back opposite neighbour’s home also burnt down because of a power surge.

Zondo further shared that her children were lucky because they usually went to Tshabalala’s house to play with her kids and sleep there.

But on May 20, they did not go, probably because Tshabalala arrived home a bit late, she added.

“The children are scared of sleeping and usually grab me very tight until they fall asleep. What bothers me is that some parents work late, while some work night shifts. We are scared to leave our children alone.”

Tshabalala and her daughter were laid to rest at the Vosloorus Cemetery on May 27.

Kathorus MAIL contacted Eskom for comment on May 30 but received no reply by the time of going print.* Not their real name.

Related Articles

Back to top button