A DARK cloud gathered over Pumula South yesterday as residents of the suburb were still coming to grips with the death of four children who died when the house in which they were sleeping caught fire on Tuesday morning.
When Southern Eye visited the house the mood was sombre, with people speaking in hushed tones as they all sought answers to why the children met such a painful death.
Mourners and concerned neighbours gathered outside the house, still under construction, while charred furniture had been removed from the room where the now dead children had slept.
The bereaved family said they were still coming to terms with the death, expressing shock and disbelief.
In an interview, the family spokesperson, Hloniphani Moyo — an uncle to the deceased children — said the incident was disturbing in that it occurred at a period when the family was gathered at the house mourning the loss of one of his sisters who recently passed away.
Moyo said the incident occurred in the early hours of Tuesday around 1am, when one of his sisters, sleeping in the same room with the children fell asleep after she had lit a candle.
“The room they were sleeping in caught fire. My sister managed to escape and called for help, but the children were not lucky,” he said.
At the time of the interview, Moyo was purchasing medical material at a local pharmacy for his injured sister, whom he said had been admitted at Mpilo Central Hospital.
“My sister is admitted at Mpilo and I am yet to visit her at the hospital today to see her condition, but others who have seen her said she was still in a state of shock and was unable to speak,” he said.
“She only spoke once when she asked to drink water.”
One of the mourners, a neighbour, said locals responded swiftly to the SOS by running with buckets of water and sand in an effort to douse the flames before the fire brigade arrived at the scene about an hour later.
With the winter season, there have been an increase in the number of cases where houses have caught fire.
One of the latest cases has been where a mattress caught fire. However, no one was injured.
Incessant power cuts also mean people have to resort to using candles for lighting, posing risks.