Arson probe after home is gutted in blaze

A Bridgetown family home was damaged in a fire on New Years Eve.

A Bridgetown family have started 2018 by rebuilding their home after it was gutted by fire on New Year’s Eve.

Keith and Vivian Rose are also frustrated at not knowing what started the devastating blaze at their home of more than 20 years in Sycamore Way.

According to neighbours, a type of flare may have landed on the roof, sparking the fire.

The couple have since opened a case of arson at Athlone police station.

They were on their way home from church when they saw their house in flames.

“A few people said that they saw this thing landing on our roof and after that it was like a big explosion and they just saw fire. My husband still wanted to go in and do something but they kept him away. Everything is destroyed, we can’t use anything,” said Ms Rose.

They shared the home with their daughter, her husband and their two children.

“It’s not a nice thing to come from church and see something like that. At the end of the year everyone makes plans for the new year and coming into your road and seeing your house being on fire and there’s nothing you can do, it makes you feel helpless.

“We don’t know who it is and we are hoping that people would come forward if it is a flare that fell on the roof which caused our house to be on fire. At the end of the day this is what happened and we will have to deal with it and we know that God is on our side and our community has been great; that makes us stronger. We are just taking it one day at a time,” she said.

The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services spokesman, Theo Layne, said they responded to the scene at 12.28am and managed to extinguish the fire an hour later.

He said two fire engines and 10 firefighters were sent to the fire.

“The lounge area was severely damaged by heat, and the remainder of the dwelling was affected by smoke and water damage.

“A probable cause could be an illegal flare discharged,” he said.

Ms Rose thanked the community for their kindness.

“Our community has been so supportive and that has really made it easier on us, and we are really grateful for that. Our ward councillor Rashid (Adams) has also been helpful,” she said.

The City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, said the City does not normally provide help when a home is privately owned but a request for help was made to the Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC) who in turn approached the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa for approval to provide humanitarian relief.

The DRMC will then ask one of their NGO partners to help the family.

“The family can also approach their local Sassa office for a grant for fire victims. They would require an affidavit and fire report which they can get from their local fire station – in this case it would be Epping Fire Station,” said Mr Smith.

Asked what the consequences are for people who do not adhere to discharging fireworks at designated spots, he said: “In terms of Section 30 of the Explosives Act of 1956, which is a piece of national legislation, the use or detonation of any fireworks in any building and public thoroughfare is liable to a R200 fine, selling fireworks to a child or anyone under the age of 16 is liable to a R300 fine, and allowing a child or person under the age of 16 to handle fireworks without adult supervision is liable to a R300 fine.”

Sergeant Daniel Solomons said no arrests have been made in the arson case.

Anyone with information can call the station on 021 697 9233.