The residents of Riyadh in Verulam, have blamed the lack of electricity following the death of a 53-year-old woman, who perished in a house fire yesterday morning. It is alleged that the family home was set alight by a fallen paraffin lamp, while the woman was sleeping, burning her to death. The woman’s remains were discovered in her bedroom, buried underneath a pile of debris.
She had been burnt beyond recognition. Karl Naidoo, a resident, said the community was shocked and devastated by the incident. He said: “The community is still in shock. That poor woman died in the most horrific way and didn’t stand a chance. The family has suffered a double loss, the elderly lady and their home. Condolences to them.”
According to first responders, Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa), the incident occurred after midnight. Rusa director, Prem Balram, said they received a call for assistance at around 00:51am from a Charnwood Drive resident, reporting a fire at a neighbouring property.
Balram said, upon arrival they met a 34-year-old man who explained that he was asleep in the basement of the house when he heard his mother screaming for help. He said: “The man noticed part of their home engulfed in flames. His mother was trapped in her bedroom and attempts to free her failed, due to the heat and extensive smoke.”
Balram said a paraffin lamp used by the deceased, is suspected to be the cause of the fire, however it is yet to be confirmed. He said the eThekwini Fire and Rescue Services arrived on scene a short while later and extinguished the blaze. The deceased’s son sustained lacerations to both his arms, while attempting to free his mother from the inferno. Verulam police are investigating the cause of the inferno.