A 62-year-old bed-ridden pensioner, identified as Mr Padadayachee, burnt to death in a deadly flat fire at Bengrove Place in Grove-end on Wednesday night.
The ailing pensioner is alleged to have been asleep when a lit candle toppled over resulting in the blaze.
Phoenix SAPS communications officer, Cpt L Naidoo, said, “The complainant claims she left her bedroom to go to the neighbours upstairs for juice. She left the candle on the chair next to the bed burning. Her husband was asleep. A few minutes later, her son who was asleep in his bedroom, saw the fire from his parent’s bedroom and tried to get inside but the smoke and flame made it impossible for him to enter. They tried to put out the fire and called the fire brigade but it was too late. Mr Padayachee died on the scene.”
Speaking to the Phoenix Tabloid, Ward Councillor, Lyndal Singh, said, “I went out to the six-flat premises after hearing about the terrible tragedy. Upon speaking to neighbours, it was determined that the victim was ailing and bedridden. His family were not present when I visited.
According to information received, it is possible that a candle fell over causing the blaze. Being incapacitated, he was unable to escape. The smoke alerted everyone to the fire and attempts to douse the flames were hindered by the raging blaze.”
“Firefighters from the area quickly responded and the fire was extinguished leaving the ground-floor room gutted.
I found out later on that the family does not have electricity because of certain issues. I encourage families in such situations to contact me and report the problem and I can attempt to assist to the best of my ability,” Cllr Singh added.
“The levels of poverty in the area are distressing but we do not want to be confronted with a situation where a life is lost in such a tragic manner. If we can do something to help those in need, then we will try our best. I have since informed Ethekwini Disaster Management of the tragedy,” said Cllr Singh.
Phoenix CPF chairman, Umesh Singh, extends his condolences to the loved ones of the deceased and urged residents without electricity to please contact their respective councillors for assistance. “With winter fast approaching, we know more candles and fires will be lit. We do not want members of the community to fall victims to fire tragedies. Please be safe at all times and ensure children are protected from these dangers,” said Singh. Neighbours sympathised with the family of the victim and said he went through much hardship in life with his ailments. The victim was laid to rest on Saturday.