A DURBAN North resident said he is lucky to be alive after the house he lives in was gutted by a fire yesterday evening. Raymond Hlongwane said he went to the outside building to take a shower when he saw the raging flames. He is an employee of a local construction company which used the property on Blackburn Road as its base.
“The house had no electricity so we used candles. When I stepped out of the back room all I could see was flames. I panicked because I had left my other colleague in the house but fortunately he managed to get out. I am just grateful that no one was in the house when the fire started because now it would be a different story,” said Hlongwane.
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Even though it is currently unclear what caused the fire, the owners of the property said there is speculation that one of their axed staff could be responsible.
“In the morning we dismissed one of our employees who lived on the property. We however allowed him to stay a couple of more days while he planned his trip back home which is Johannesburg. A few minutes after the fire started it was reported that he was suddenly at the station already on his way back home,” said Sean Jacob.
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Jacob said despite the speculation they had not opened a case.
“At this point everything is still speculation and we are still in shock. We just want to focus our attention on re-building. Once that is done, we can focus on other things,” he added. Unfortunately for Hlongwane he lost more than just a roof over his head.
“When I realised what was happening it was too late for me to get anything. The only clothes I have is what I had on at the time. I urge anyone who can assist to help in any way they can,” he said.
Concerned community member Nicole Ballman also jumped to Hlongwane’s aid. Posting on Durban North Neighbours Facebook group Ballman wrote,”Durban Plea to Durban North Folk. The house fire on Blackburn Road this evening left 3 guys without clothes, bedding, blankets or food. I will be collecting items over the next few days. Drop off at RE/MAX PANACHE 27 Broadway, Durban North.”