Fire guts Umbilo home

AN Umbilo woman, who has dedicated most of her life to assisting others and community projects, lost the only home she’s ever known, when it was razed to the ground in a fire yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 8 October).

According to Mark Lombaard from KZN Community Assist and Disaster Management, a member received a call from the home owner, Shireen Slater, at 2.49pm and rushed to the scene. “I called the fire department to inform them it was a positive call, and when I arrived at the house 10 minutes later, the fire department was on scene. By that time the house was already completely gutted,” he said.

Devastated, Shireen told Berea Mail she wasn’t sure what started the fire.”I was sitting in the lounge with my foster daughter, Nonnie and my tenant’s child, Portia, when we smelt an electrical smell. We saw smoke coming from the toilet and ran out of the house. I kept Nonnie’s son outside and Nonnie ran back in to try put the fire out with water, and then neighbours gave us fire extinguishers to try put it out,” she said.

Still shell-shocked from the tragedy of losing everything in the fire, Shireen said she had been born in the house. “At least we all got out alive! Two of my dogs ran down to the front fence and we found the third at the back of the house. I’m just sad. This is the only home I’ve ever known, ” she said, adding that she was not covered by insurance.

Shireen said Nonnie had been taken to hospital as she was suffering with anxiety, but that she had later been discharged. The house was secured at 6.20pm and danger taped after a physical interior inspection and photos were taken by KZN Disaster Managent. The members left the scene at 6.30pm. Mark Lombaard said Shireen had dedicated most of her life to assisting with community projects, helping others in need, going without to help others, doing voluntary work for various non-profit organisations, non-government organisations and non-profit companies. He appealed to the community to open their hearts to help with donations.

The family is in need of food, clothing, furniture, building materials, paint, kitchen appliances, linen, cutlery, old cellphones and anything else which will help them get on their feet.All donations can be dropped off at KZN Community Assist & Disaster Management, 482 Oliver Lea Drive, Umbilo.

Should you be unable to drop off, contact either 0625859410 (Patrick Verity) or 0725126722 (Mark Lombaard) to arrange for collection. Heather Rorick from Bulwer Community Safety Forum is also helping Shireen by raising funds and collecting items. Contact her on 0742032792.

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  AUTHOR
Lauren Walford
Journalist

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