Daily Dispatch

Quick response not fast enough


CONDOLENCE­S poured in yesterday for Jenny Gerbhardt, who died in her Baysville home after it caught alight on Tuesday evening.

Gerbhardt, who had been living with her husband and teenage son in the home, was alone at the time it went up in flames.

Gerbhardt’s son, Tristan Nickelson, 17, said he had left his mother in the house for about 30 minutes when he received a call alerting him to the fire.

“I had returned from school like normal and chilled at home a while before I left my mother in the house to prepare for my mathematic­s test, which I was supposed to write today [Wednesday].”

He said he then received the call from a neighbour who told him the house was on fire.

“We all ran up the road and tried to enter the house to stop the blaze, but Red Alert was already there and other neighbours had already tried to put out the fire, but at the time the fire brigade had not arrived.

“We broke a few windows, and all I could save was my bird and two dogs. I thought my other dog was caught in the fire too, but we later discovered it hiding in the bush early this morning.”

The teenager said he was still in shock and disbelief at the events that had unfolded in front of him.

BCM spokesman Sibusiso Cindi said the fire brigade had reacted promptly to a call alerting them to the fire.

“The call was received by our control at about 6.10pm. At 6.11pm the crew was dispatched.

“Fleet Street and Vincent fire stations responded very quickly to this incident.

“The crews were informed that somebody was trapped inside the house, but the body was discovered in the bathroom when the fire was extinguish­ed,” he said.

Red Alert regional manager Brett Harvey said a patrol guard was among the first on the scene.

“The patrolman and armed response officers tried to break into the house as they could hear animals and were told that there was a woman inside. The fire department and paramedics arrived shortly afterwards.

“The armed response officers and firemen searched the premises and found animals, two dogs and a bird which were rescued but unfortunat­ely the body of a woman was found deceased in one of the rooms, presumably by smoke inhalation.

“The Red Alert men and fire department tried their best, but it was an extremely unfortunat­e outcome,” said Harvey. — mbalit@dispatch.co.za

 ?? Picture: MARK ANDREWS ?? DESTROYED: The house in Baysville where a fire claimed the life of Jenny Gerbhardt
Picture: MARK ANDREWS DESTROYED: The house in Baysville where a fire claimed the life of Jenny Gerbhardt

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