Remains of fire victims finally released

Mayor Patricia de Lille. Picture Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA).

The remains of a baby and her toddler sister were only released to their grandparents yesterday, Tuesday June 26, two weeks after their wendy house in Flamingo Crescent, Colorado Park went up in flames.

Seven-month-old Zaynoorah Brandt and her sister Zaytoon,2, died in the early hours of Tuesday June 12 after they were left alone at home (“Baby and toddler perish in blaze”, Plainsman, June 13).

Both their parents have been arrested and a case of child neglect is being investigated.

Joan Woodman, councillor for Ward 75, told the Plainsman that the provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) had paid for a DNA test to confirm their identity as their identity documents, photographs and birth certificates had all gone up in smoke.

She said Mayor Patricia de Lille’s office would be assisting with funeral arrangements, which could only start once the death certificates had been issued.

The DNA results were released after medical records were checked at the clinic to obtain identity numbers.

At the Wolfgat Sub-council meeting on Thursday June 21, Ward 79 councillor Solomon Philander queried what time fire and rescue services had been called and what time they responded.

Mr Philander also queried, whether the girls’ deaths could have been prevented.

“I arrived there after 3am and immediately called Fire and Rescue Services. They were there within minutes but according to what the people said, the fire was raging from before 3am,” said Mr Philander.

Theo Layne, spokesman for Fire and Rescue Services, said the first call for an emergency service had been received at 3.13am and responded to five minutes later.

He said the cause of the fire was undetermined.

“An informal structural fire that originates from within the structure engulfs the contents and structure within two to three minutes of the fire starting and with this in mind it is virtually impossible to reach any incident of this nature and still be able to rescue any people trapped.

“The structure is usually destroyed by the time we arrive on scene,” he said.

The girls’ mother, Tashleema Brandt handed herself over for arrest at Lentegeur police station on Tuesday June 19.

Their father Cameron Adams, 30, was arrested soon after the fire.

The two, who face charges of murder, are due to appear in Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s court on Wednesday July 11.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Francois Jordaan of Lentegeur Serious and Violent Crime Investigation Department, at 076 250 5246 or Crime Stop on 086 001 0111.