Shop owner dies in early morning fire

One man died and seven people were displaced in a fire in Elder Street, Bonteheuwel.

A 35-year-old Somalian shopkeeper died in a fire in Bonteheuwel early this morning, Thursday October 1.

According to Bishop Lavis police station spokesman, Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi, residents awoke to flames and smoke just after 5am and noticed that the sink structure at 55 Elder Street, Bonteheuwel was on fire. The fire also spread to the main house, displacing seven people. 

Warrant Officer Swartbooi said the zinc structure was used as a spaza shop in which the owner also lived. 

He said the man had been trapped inside and could not open the door to get to safety.

Bonteheuwel ward councillor, Angus McKenzie, said the seven people who were displaced were now staying with family and friends. 

“I have heard rumours that this is the third fire to take place at that house; at this point we suspect no foul play,” he said. 

He said donations for the family could be dropped off at 55 Elder Street, Bonteheuwel. 

Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson, Edward Bosch said two fire engines, two water tankers and a rescue unit responded to the call at 5am and that the fire, the cause of which is unknown, was extinguished by 5.29am. 

“Firefighters found two wood and iron structures on the property, in front of the main house. One of the structures, used as a living quarters was gutted in the fire and there was slight smoke damage to the main dwelling,” he said.

“One adult male sustained fatal burn wounds.”