THE BRAVEST BOY IN SALT RIVER
Boy, 5, saves his family from a fiery death as blaze engulfs their home
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.