2 kids die as heater ex­plodes

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MASABATA MK­WANANZI Masabata.mk­wananzi@inl.co.za @Sa­bie_M

A MOTHER has been left trau­ma­tised after her six-month-old baby girl and her one-year-old nephew died when a heater ex­ploded. The ac­ci­dent hap­pened at a res­i­dence at the Dun­not­tar mil­i­tary base, east of Joburg, on Sun­day.

The house be­longs to an SA Na­tional De­fence Force mem­ber who is the grand­fa­ther of the two chil­dren. At the time the tragedy struck, he had been de­ployed to Pre­to­ria.

The heater ex­ploded in the bed­room the two chil­dren had been sleep­ing in, and the bed and blan­kets quickly caught fire, ac­cord­ing to po­lice spokesper­son Cap­tain Jo­hannes Ram­phora.

The fa­ther of the 12-month-old boy was badly burnt while try­ing to res­cue the chil­dren and had to be rushed to hospi­tal.

The fa­ther had been down­stairs, to­gether with the nanny, and the two had ap­par­ently smelt some­thing burn­ing. They then went to in­ves­ti­gate and found the heater had ex­ploded. Both chil­dren were ly­ing dead.

Ram­phora said he was not sure where the mother of the six­month-old girl had been dur­ing the fire. When he later re­ceived a call about the in­ci­dent, he found the mother in the house.

“An in­quest has been opened for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The mother, at the mo­ment, is still trau­ma­tised and we need to or­gan­ise counselling,” he said.

He urged peo­ple to be vig­i­lant, es­pe­cially dur­ing this time of the year, by reg­u­larly check­ing their ap­pli­ances and not leav­ing chil­dren with heaters on.

SANDF spokesper­son Colonel Ron­ald Maseko con­firmed that an in­quest had been opened.

Ac­cord­ing to Sizwe Jones, from Chil­dren of Fire In­ter­na­tional, at least 15 000 chil­dren suf­fer se­ri­ous burn wounds in South Africa ev­ery year.

Jones urged peo­ple to take safety pre­cau­tions and said it was much safer to use oil-filled ra­di­a­tors.

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