West­bourne fam­ily lose ev­ery­thing in fire

The Rep - - NEWS - BHONGO JA­COB

THE Van Niekerk fam­ily in West­bourne are pick­ing up the pieces after a blaze de­stroyed their house two weeks ago.

The fire started at about 9.30pm on the Fri­day with struc­tural and in­te­rior dam­age re­sult­ing from the fire.

Tossie van Niekerk, who is the mother of a 20-year-old daugh­ter, Chanelle Neu­mann, with a son, Izak, 4, said the cause of the fire was un­known at present.

“We actually do not know how it all started. We sus­pect the lit­tle one got hold of matches in the kitchen and started play­ing with them,” Van Niekerk said.

“My daugh­ter sent a ‘please call me’ and I phoned her im­me­di­ately. She was shout­ing that I must come home be­cause there was a fire.

“I rushed home with my hus­band and the fire brigade also came im­me­di­ately.

“I tried to run to the back to see if I could save any­thing but it was locked, and I quickly ran inside to save the four dogs which were inside.”

She said the in­ci­dent had had a huge ef­fect on the fam­ily as they had lost al­most all of their pos­ses­sions and had to rely on the pub­lic for as­sis­tance.

“We lost ev­ery­thing – a week ago I bought a big flat-screen TV for my hus­band and two bunk beds and they were all de­stroyed. My sewing ma­chines and all my ma­te­rial that I used to make clothes were burnt;, our cell­phones, fur­ni­ture and sen­ti­men­tal stuff were all burnt.

“I am just happy we are safe, my chil­dren are safe and there were no in­juries. There was a gas bot­tle in the mid­dle of the fire and it did not ex­plode, so the Lord’s hand pro­tected us.”

She praised the com­mu­nity for their as­sis­tance.

“Our neigh­bours were very help­ful, all the peo­ple. My neigh­bours sent their chil­dren to help us clean up and our friends, mem­bers of Fa­milia Christi Church and Lau­rian’s Elec­tri­cal have given us a lot of sup­port.

“Ad­vo­cate An­dre Dor­fling has been or­gan­is­ing help for us.”

She said some peo­ple had also of­fered to wash clothes and had cooked meals for them.

Any­one able to as­sist can con­tact Van Niekerk on 082-588-8481 or Dor­fling on 083-701-6983.

Pic­ture: BHONGO JA­COB

GUT­TED HOME: At the ru­ins of their West­bourne home, from left, Chanelle Neu­mann and Tossie van Niekerk with four-year-old Izak

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