Cause of Universitas fire investigated

The cause of a fire that broke out in a double storey house in Universitas, Bloemfontein, killing a 60-year-old woman and a three-year-old girl over the weekend, is still being investigated.

Section Officer at the Mangaung Fire and Rescue Service, Braam van Zyl, says arson is, however, excluded. He says the fire started just before 08:00 on Saturday in a bedroom on the first floor of Unitas Herberg next to the Universitas Hospital.

The fire brigade was on the scene in minutes. An elderly man and a woman in her thirties managed to escape the blaze. The mother of the child, who sustained burns, was rushed to the  Pelonomi Hospital.

Van Zyl says firefighters with two firetrucks and a water tanker extinguished the flames within an hour.  He says two upper bedrooms, the bathroom and the roof were damaged in the fire. Half of the downstairs area was also damaged.

Police spokesperson, Chaka Marope, said neighbours made valiant attempts to save the victims by forcing entry through the front door on the ground floor.

Their attempts, however, were unsuccessful because of the severe heat and smoke. The names of the deceased have not been released on request of the family. – Christal-Lize Muller