A man and woman burnt to death when a fire engulfed a room they were sleeping in on Sunday. Now the future is uncertain for their three children, all under the age of 10, who have been orphaned.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire, which broke out at a house in Lentegeur shortly before 17:00, City of Cape Town Fire Services spokesperson Theo Lane confirmed.
“Two adults – a man and a woman – died as a result of the fire,” he said.
“The cause has not yet been determined and the matter has been handed over to the police for further investigation.”
The couple has been identified as Ricardo Fredericks, 38, and Chantelle Davids, 36.
Their children – aged 1, 4 and 10 – are now temporarily living with an aunt.
Fredericks and Davids lived in a bedroom at the front of Fredericks’ mother’s Lavender Street home.
His aunt, Cathline Fransman, said the two had been sleeping when the fire started.
“Their room door had been hooked on to a latch at the time,” she said.
The homeowner’s granddaughter, 10-year-old Laeeqa, said she was in her grandmother’s room when she noticed smoke filtering through the house.
“Only my four-year-old cousin was in the house, so I grabbed her and ran. I couldn’t get into the other room because there wasn’t time and there was too much smoke,” she said.
Fransman said the flames were too high for a neighbour to dash in to pull the couple from the inferno.
“All we could do was watch. The fire truck arrived shortly thereafter, but it was already too late.”
On Monday, neighbours carried out charred furniture and swept ash from the razed room.
The rest of the council-owned house was also extensively damaged in the blaze.
Fredericks’ brother, Christopher, said he is devastated. “I kept waiting for them to bring my brother out alive, but he eventually came out in a body bag.”