Family needs help after fire

Daniel Williams is pictured in front of his fire ravaged home where his wife, Kulsum died. With him is Ameasan Jacobs, Candie Witbooi, carrying her niece Lhimone Jacobs.

An Eastridge man is appealing to the community to help him bury his wife after she died in a house fire a fortnight ago.

The cause of the fire that gutted the semi-detached Nero Street maisonette is still unknown.

The grieving Williams family say the body of Kulsum Williams, 72, is still in the mortuary waiting for a postmortem. She died with her two dogs and eight cats in the fire.

Her husband, Daniel Williams, 69, said he was devastated by the tragedy.

“It’s painful, but there is nothing I can do. It happened, and no one can be blamed,” said Mr Williams.

He said he had been at church at 10am on Sunday December 10 when one of his grandchildren had phoned to say the house was on fire.

“I hurried up, came back, and I saw it engulfed in flames,” he sighed.

Mr Williams said his wife’s body had been found next to the back door where she had tried to escape.

“The key was still tied on her wrist. She died together with two dogs and eight cats inside the house,” he said, adding that he and his wife adored their pets and treated them as their children because there were no children in the house.

“All I have left are the clothes I’m wearing now. All my belongings burned in the fire, except my identity document because it was in my pocket. I don’t know what to do or how we’re going to bury her. I’m asking anyone who can help with anything. It is welcomed,” he said, adding that he only had one surviving child.

One of Ms Williams’s granddaughters, Candie Witbooi, 26, described her as a people’s person.

“Everyone liked her in the area. She was talkative. Everyone always called her when they passed here,” she said.

Ms Witbooi, who lives across the road, said the incident happened just after her granny had visited her.

“She came here in the morning (past 10) to fetch her chicken to cook it in her house. Just 10 minutes later, I heard my child calling me, saying ‘fire fire’.

“When I went out, there were big flames and neighbours were also trying to open the burglar bars but failed. I could hear her screaming for help inside,” she said.

Ward 79 councillor Solomon Philander ex-
pressed condolences to the family and said he had informed the City’s Disaster Management about the incident.

“The house is damaged and needs to be rebuilt and City officials will come and assess the damage,” said Mr Philander.

The City’s Fire and Rescue spokesman, Theo Layne, said the cause of the fire was still undetermined.

“The fire and rescue service took an hour to extinguish the fire. There are no more injuries reported besides the deceased,” said Mr Layne.

Richard Bosman, the City’s executive director for safety and security, said Disaster Risk Management had provided blankets, food parcels, baby products and vanity packs through non-governmental organisations.

Mitchell’s Plain police spokesman Captain Ian Williams said an inquest docket into the fire had been opened.

Mr Williams, a pensioner, now lives with his grandchildren. If you are able to help the family, call Samantha Jacobs on 073 202 6952