Klipfontein family starting over after losing everything fire

Andrea Rossouw, 16, from Klipfontein Mission Station, in her fire-ravaged home.

A Klipfontein Mission Station family are rebuilding their home with corrugated iron after their brick home was gutted by a fire.

Claudine Rossouw, her husband, Andre and their daughter, Andrea, 16, have been living at a friend’s home and wearing donated clothing.

They lost everything – home, clothing, marriage certificate, Andrea’s birth certificate, textbooks and antique furniture within minutes when their house went up in flames around 3.35pm, on Monday May 13.

No one was home. Andrea, in Grade 11 at Princeton High School, and her parents were at work, when a friend texted her: “How is it that your house is burning?”

Andrea fainted, and Ms Rossouw was home within five minutes of receiving a call from her neighbour that her house was on fire.

“I lost everything,” she said.

When the Plainsman visited the house on Friday May 17, Andrea was wearing a pair of slippers, which she had had in her school bag on the day of the fire.

The school has replaced five textbooks and given her notes that were destroyed in the fire.

Andrea’s teacher also offered to arrange counselling for her as she started examinations on Monday May 20.

“It was emotional. All my grandmother’s memories, her bed that I had, cupboards in the house, everything is gone,” she said.

A week ago Ms Rossouw told the Plainsman, she hadn’t known where to start.

“Ek is baie hartseer. Ja, dit is goed wat ’* mens verloor het, maar ons het in daai plek gewoon, gelewe,” she said.

Ms Rossouw said people from their church, family and friends had been very supportive.

Yesterday, Tuesday May 21, she sent an update by WhatsApp, saying they were doing well. But, she added: “It will take time to heal.”

The family suspects the fire, which started in the kitchen, was caused by an electrical short. They had reported a power outage at the weekend to Eskom.

Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman Jermaine Carelse said they responded at 3.40pm, a minute after they had been informed about the fire by the Public Emergency Communication Centre (107).

“The entire dwelling and contents were destroyed by the fire,” she said.

Two fire engines, a water tanker, a rescue vehicle and 14 staff members were on the scene and extinguished the fire by 5.50pm.

Charlotte Powell, Disaster Risk Management Centre spokesperson, said they had asked the South Africa Social Security Agency to provide humanitarian relief.