It was horrific scene which played out at a flat in Goldengreen Gardens in Greenbury on Thursday night when an 81-year-old granny burnt to death on her bed during a fire at her flat.
Rampire Kissoon, who lived alone and walked with the aid of a walker and suffered with severe arthritis, was unable to make an escape whilst family and neighbours could not get into the burning flat in time to rescue her. The elderly woman lived without electricity and used a candle for light. Speaking to The Phoenix Tabloid, Rampire’s granddaughter-in-law, Trisha Kissoon, 32, said her husband and Rampire’s grandson, Ashvay, 32, walked into his worst nightmare when he saw his grandmother burning on the bed but was helpless to dash to her assistance as smoke and flames engulfed the flat.
“Ashvay and a neighbour, Denesh, kicked down the door but thick black smoke and fumes burst out. Ashvay had the hosepipe from downstairs and other neighbours also rushed with a second hosepipe as well as buckets of water to put out the fire. They bust the windows to allow the smoke to escape. Ashvay is traumatised because he could not help to save his grandmother,” said Trisha.
Phoenix SAPS communications officer, Captain Louise Naidoo, said, “Mr Denesh Suknundan had returned from work and was passing his neighbour’s flat when he noticed the flat was on fire.”
He informed his family and immediately instructed them to alert the victim, Rampire Kissoon’s family of the fire. A joint effort was made to extinguish the fire and by the time firefighters arrived on scene, the fire was put out and the victim was deceased.
The body of Kissoon was found lying on the bed and was burned. The deceased was suffering from arthritis and was not able to walk. The house has no lights and the candle was used. The base of the bottle on which a candle was placed was found next to the bed. The deceased was last seen by her daughter-in-law at about 7:30pm and was asleep at the time.
Cpt Naidoo said Phoenix police are investigating an inquest into Rampire’s death.
Trisha said, “There was no electricity in Ma’s flat because the electricity account was in huge arrears and the service was disconnected. Ma was independent. The councillor was trying to help her sort out the account.” Ragani Suknundan, the victim’s neighbour said, “This is a terrible tragedy. My son, Denesh, saw Rampire’s curtains on fire and acted quickly to try and help her.
“We were very close to Rampire. She was in and out of our house. We helped her when she was sick. We cannot believe that she passed away in this painful way.”
A second neighbour, Jane Lazarus, said, “It is heartbreaking that such an old woman died such a grisly death. It is sad that a woman at such a ripe old age was living alone and that too with no electricity. We all knew Aunty Rampire and felt sorry for her. We will miss her and pray that her soul rests in peace.” According to Trisha, Rampire was burnt beyond recognition.
Her funeral was held on Sunday. Trisha said, “Our family is devastated. We cannot believe that Ma’s life ended in this way. She was so soft-spoken and humble. Ashvay is struggling to wipe out that image of his granny’s last moments from his mind. No person should die in that manner and no person should watch someone they love die and not be able to help them.”