Sunday Tribune

Dad, son survive driveway blast

- ANNIE DORASAMY

A CHATSWORTH father and son are lucky to be alive after fireworks led to a blast that destroyed cars and part of a house.

The blastis estimated to have caused R500 000 in damages.

Ronnie Budderam, 51, and his son Vishyane, 27, suffered severe burns last Sunday when they tried to get away from flames that shot down their driveway.

The men were under the vehicle, inspecting a leaking pipe, when the fire broke out.

Vishyane Budderam had found the leak when he had gone to put petrol in at a garage.

“I had a job interview in Joburg. So I was going to leave that night. I went to the garage to put petrol in and use the ATM. When I returned to the car, I saw petrol leaking on to the ground.

“I went home and jacked up the car so that my dad and I could find the problem,” he said.

Suddenly, he heard a sound as if someone had lit a match, followed by a thunderous explosion, said Budderam.

“None of us had matches or had been smoking and the engine was not running either. But it was still Diwali and people were lighting fireworks. The only explanatio­n for how the fire started would be sparks igniting petrol on the floor,” he said.

Lucky

The blaze swept down the driveway, razing the family’s three vehicles – a Nissan Sentra, Skyline and MercedesBe­nz – parked in the garage as well as two bedrooms, a bathroom and part of the roof in the top rear section of their Croftdene home.

Both he and his father were lucky to be alive, he said.

“All I hope for at the time was that we would make it out alive. My skin felt like it was on a braai stand, burning while I was still alive.

“We were in excruciati­ng pain and there was nothing we could do to make it stop. It’s a miracle we are still alive,” said Budderam.

His father’s face was badly disfigured and he is still being treated for the burns.

“The last thing we could think of was the house and the cars. All that was going through our minds was that we needed to escape.

“The house can be repaired and the cars replaced, but nothing would bring us back to life. Thank God we made it out,” he said.

Ward councillor Anandan Naidoo said that he had arranged for a structural engineer to help the family rebuild their home.

Their house and cars were not insured.

Naidoo said he was also convinced the fire was sparked by fireworks.

Police spokeswoma­n, Superinten­dent Danelia Veldhuizen, said the cause of fire was not yet known, but foul play was not suspected.

 ?? Picture: NQOBILE MBONAMBI ?? Vishyane Budderam suffered severe burns to his face and arms during a car explosion, thought to have been caused by fireworks. The fire engulfed two other vehicles and partially gutted his Croftdene home.
Picture: NQOBILE MBONAMBI Vishyane Budderam suffered severe burns to his face and arms during a car explosion, thought to have been caused by fireworks. The fire engulfed two other vehicles and partially gutted his Croftdene home.

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