Grandpa of 79 dies in mys­tery house fire

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - AYANDA NTSHANGASE AND THABANG RAMMUTLA

AN EL­DO­RADO Park fam­ily are prepar­ing for the funeral of their 79-year-old grand­fa­ther in­stead of cel­e­brat­ing the 14th birth­day of his grand­son.

The el­derly man died when the fam­ily home caught fire yes­ter­day.

James An­der­son lived with his 14-year-old grand­son, who sus­pects the fire was caused by a heater.

Judie An­der­son, the daugh­ter of the dead man, ac­cused the emer­gency ser­vices of re­spond­ing late to the dis­tress call.

“The fire sta­tion told us that there were no fire en­gines and re­ferred us to fire­fight­ers from Orange Farm, who came, but when they left, the fire started again and then they sent the Soweto fire sta­tion to stop the fire,” An­der­son said.

She said po­lice ar­rived at the scene while the fam­ily were try­ing to com­fort one an­other about the death.

“They in­ter­ro­gated the 14-year-old boy and asked if he started the fire, (while) foren­sics said the fire started from this par­tic­u­lar cor­ner in the room, where this old man was liv­ing,” she ex­plained.

Since the house had burnt to ashes, the An­der­son fam­ily of eight had no shel­ter.

Gift of The Givers has, in the mean­time, in­ter­vened to as­sist the dis­traught fam­ily, who lost all their pos­ses­sions.

“We got help from the Gift of The Givers; they came and do­nated some stuff for us be­cause ev­ery­thing was burnt in the house, and they will also do­nate some blan­kets and mat­tresses for us,” An­der­son said.

The fam­ily said they can­not af­ford to pay for the funeral of their grand­fa­ther and are wait­ing for so­cial ser­vices to con­firm how they will be able to as­sist them.

In an­other in­ci­dent, two peo­ple were killed in a shack fire in Dan Pien­aar, Mid­vaal, on Sun­day.

A man who iden­ti­fied him­self as a ten­ant on the farm said there were two peo­ple in the shack who tried to cook af­ter a day spent drink­ing.

He gave The Star the con­tact de­tails of the woman he said was the farm’s owner.

The farm owner, orig­i­nally a Chi­nese na­tional known as Mei, said: “English not good, please call the po­lice or ER24.”

ER24 spokesper­son An­nine Sid­dall said paramedics were no­ti­fied of the in­ci­dent by the Mid­vaal Fire De­part­ment.

“At 9.13am on Sun­day, paramedics ar­rived at the scene and waited for the fire to be ex­tin­guished.

“It could not be de­ter­mined how long the shack had been on fire. ER24 paramedics found two bod­ies burnt be­yond recog­ni­tion.”

Po­lice also con­firmed the in­ci­dent.

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