Girl dies as residents stone firefighters

The rubble at the Rubushe yard.

Residents of KTC have lashed out at members of their community who stoned firefighters who were trying to extinguish a fire which claimed the life of a three-year-old girl. Another child is being treated in hospital for severe burn wounds.

At the time of the fire, on Saturday July 9, the children had been alone at the Memani Street shack. Their mother, Nomajama Rubushe, who was visiting a friend in the same street, rushed home when she was alerted to the blaze.

Neighbour Zandile Mzoyi said firefighters arrived soon after the emergency call was made, but were chased away by residents who stoned the fire truck.

“I would not know the reason behind that act. But it was bad to the point that the firefighters could not even have a chance to get out of the car.

“Look at the results of that now. My neighbour has lost a child and another one is in hospital. Who in his right mind would do such a barbaric act. KTC needs to act on such people,” she said.

The City’s Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse, said they received the call at 7.52pm on Saturday, with the first crews, from Ottery fire station, arriving by 8.09pm.

“The crew ran out a fog jet to extinguish the fire, when community members told them to leave. The fire engine’s windscreen was damaged and the officer and crew withdrew from the scene and went to Nyanga police station to report the incident,” he said.

When Vukani visited the family, the mother was still in hospital with the surviving child but she said she had not been informed that her daughter had passed away.

Local South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) secretary, Lumkile Msila, slammed those who stoned the firefighters.

“Those are idiots. Instead of helping the fire brigade members they fought them. Why?

“We have lost a kid and one is in hospital because of idiotic acts. That is, in fact, criminal. Community members should not allow this to happen in their presence,” he said.

Mr Msila also blamed the load shedding for the incident.

“Load shedding is a problem to us all. We have to use candles and the results are fire. I hope this thing can end soon before we lose many people to fire,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of ward councillor Gladstone Ntamo, his assistant Suzanne Zumana said the councillor condemned attack on the firefighters and would meet the community to discuss the matter.

Community leaders Lumkile Msila and Thembilizwe Qolo inspect the damage at the Rubushe home.
Zandile Mzoyi does not understand why some residents chased away firefighters.