Boy, 5, saves his fam­ily from a fiery death as blaze en­gulfs their home

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - WARDA MEYER

THERE’S a new hero in Salt River – and he’s just five years old.

His name is Saabir Arend, and he saved his en­tire fam­ily from a fiery death.

Lit­tle Saabir was ly­ing in bed around 5am two weeks ago when he saw flames burn­ing around the over­head light in his room.

In­stead of freez­ing in ter­ror, the boy sprang into ac­tion, climbed down from the dou­ble­bunk he shared with his three­year-old brother Imaad. He woke him and rushed with him to his par­ents’ bed­room next door, where Shamiela Arend, her hus­band Wagied and their 10-month-old baby Tauhir were asleep.

Shamiela said that when Saabir ran into their room, say­ing his light was burn­ing, they ini­tially ig­nored him, urg­ing him to go back to sleep.

“I thought he meant the light was on, but then he in­sisted there was fire com­ing from the light.”

Wagied jumped up and ran to the boys’ room, only to find smoke bil­low­ing out the door.

“As I reached their room, the heat from the flames slammed the door shut, so I ran out­side and grabbed a hosepipe to douse the flames. The heat was in­tense and I had to kick open the door to get the hosepipe in.”

By this time, the ceil­ing was on fire and hang­ing down onto the cupboards.

“I shud­der to think that it could have been their beds. It’s a mir­a­cle that Saabir woke up in time.”

Within min­utes the en­tire house was full of smoke, and Wagied could no longer bat­tle the flames on his own. The fam­ily fled out­side, sav­ing only the night­clothes on their backs.

Neigh­bours in York Road rushed to their aid, and the fire bri­gade ar­rived, but it was too late to save the fam­ily’s home.

Shamiela said she and Wagied were stay­ing with neigh­bours down the road. Her sons were stay­ing with her sis­ter in Ma­nen­berg while they sorted out the in­surance and started re­pair­ing their home.

“We are so for­tu­nate that we es­caped with­out in­jury. This could have had a very dif­fer­ent out­come.

“We are still in shock, but we owe our lives to lit­tle Saabir, who knew ex­actly what to do.

“It’s not as if we pre­pared him for this. At five years old it’s not the type of thing you think your child will have to deal with, but he did.”


SHELL: Shamiela And Wagied Arend in their house af­ter it burnt down. They lost all their be­long­ings.

HERO: Saabir Arend , who saved his fam­ily.

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