A father and his toddler died in a fire incident in Ramaphosa informal settlement located in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni during the early hours of Thursday morning.
Two of his other children, however, managed to escape the blaze with minimal injuries.
The City’s EMS spokesperson, William Ntladi, said in a statement on Thursday: “City of Ekurhuleni emergency services firefighters from Boksburg fire station, swiftly responded to the scene immediately after the reception of the call for intervention. On arrival, [a] one-roomed shack was still gutted by fire, neighbours trying to extinguish with water using bucket brigade system.
“Firefighters took over and the blaze was extinguished in no time,” he added.
Information on the scene led authorities to the charred remains of the father, believed to be in his 40s, and a three-year-old girl.
Paramedics declared both dead and handed the scene over to law enforcement for further investigation.
“It is alleged that the father deliberately set the shack alight with all three children still inside. The other two children aged five and seven managed to escape prior [to] the fire,” Ntladi explained.
The two children allegedly screamed for help but when neighbours attempted to intervene, the father allegedly locked himself and his toddler behind the door and proceeded to set the shack alight.
“Frantically, neighbours tried to open the door to save both from the horror of fire, but it was too little too late when the objective was met,” Ntladi added.
The mother was not at home at the time of the incident, according to EMS.
The two other children have since been transported by ambulance to Bertha Gxowa hospital in Germiston for medical and psychological treatment.
“The South African Police Services (SAPS) officers received the crime scene from firefighters and started with their investigations and the removal of the bodies to an appropriate pathological facility,” Ntladi concluded.