Girl dies in fire

Eight-year-old Liberia Dondes

Bonteheuwel residents are collecting donations for the victims of a fire in which an eight-year-old girl died last Thursday.

Liberia Dondes died due to smoke inhalation after a fire broke out at a backyard dwelling at her home in Camelia Street.

The fire, which happened on November 2, destroyed three shacks and caused damage to the main house and displaced nine people.

Johannes Booysen, who lived in one of the shacks, said he and his girlfriend had been watching television when the fire started around 10pm. He said his girlfriend suffered burn wounds to her neck, arms, and back. She had since been hospitalised. Mr Booysen said his nephew had alerted him to the fire.

“I then saw smoke coming through my place and by the time I got out, the flames were so high. I got some water but the flames were too high already.”

Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson, Theo Layne, said three fire engines, one water tanker, one rescue vehicle and 19 firefighters from Epping and Goodwood fire stations had been dispatched to the fire scene.

Liberia was one of two sisters and was a Grade 2 pupil at Cedar Primary School.

One of the neighbours Graham Leffule described her as a pleasant child with good manners.

“She was always happy to play outside with her friends and she loved school. It’s very sad that we lost her. We always sent her to the shop. She was such a sweet girl. She always listened when you speak to her. She was a nice girl.”

Her aunt, Chaneel Dondes, said Liberia had been sleeping when the fire started.

“She was sleeping next door, I think the fire made her sleep. She was a jokey person, she always made jokes when she came out of school. She was a very loving child and the only time she was quiet was when she was sick,” she said.

The City of Cape Town’s disaster risk management spokesperson, Charlotte Powell, said after completing their assessments, the City’s human settlements department provided starter kits to the families over the weekend.

Ward 50 councillor Angus Mckenzie said donations for the family could be dropped of at the Sub-council 5 office, on the corner of Kiaat Road and Jakkelsvlei Avenue, in Bonteheuwel.