Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Another toddler dies in fire

Sifundiso Ndlovu Chronicle Reporter
A TWO-year-old toddler was burnt to death in Bulawayo’s Sauerstown suburb yesterday after his seven-year-old brother allegedly dropped a lit match stick onto his bed.Keagan Peel, whose father had planned a birthday party for him on Friday, died around 2PM despite efforts to save him from the raging fire.

His mother Mary Peel, 26, had to be rushed to hospital after sustaining burns while trying to save her child.

Two other family members were also rushed to hospital after suffering minor burns from the fire that started while the mother was outside the house.
The late Keagan’s parents Mary and Ernest Peel, firefighters and onlookers at the Sauerstown house where the fire broke out
Bulawayo Chief Fire Officer Richard Peterson confirmed the incident.

He said the fire is suspected to have been started by a match stick dropped on the bed by the toddler’s seven-year-old brother.

“I can confirm that a two-year-old child died in a fire. When the fire brigade reached the scene it was already too late and we could not do anything to save the child. We suspect the fire was not seen early as we arrived five minutes after the fire was reported,” said Peterson.

The inconsolable child’s father, Ernest Peel, 56, said he had planned a birthday party for his third born child on Friday.

“He was going to turn two on Friday and I was organising a party for him,” said Peel with tears in his eyes.

His brother and family spokesperson Matthew Peel said the family was still in shock.

“It’s a very painful thing. The boy loved playing and always had a smile. We are still to get a clear account of what exactly caused the fire,” he said.

Matthew confirmed that three members of the family had been rushed to hospital with minor burns.

“The mother of the baby, her sister and the baby’s cousin have been rushed to hospital with minor burns and shock,” he said.

Silibaziso Mutsinze, a neighbour, said she called the fire brigade after she saw smoke from the house.

She said she held the weeping mother while watching the house burn with the toddler inside.

According to Mutsinze, that was the worst experience of her life.

“When I reached the house it was already dangerous to get inside and I had to restrain the mother of the child who had already been burnt in an earlier attempt to rescue the minor,” she said.

“This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. We watched helplessly while the child burnt to death”.

Peterson said 55 percent of the house was affected by the fire.

“The ceiling fuelled the fire which affected about 55 percent of the house,” he said.

Ward two councillor, Sithabile Mataka, who was at the scene, regretted the incident and said residents must take precautions to avoid fires.

“This is a dreadful accident and we must all assist the bereaved family. Residents must have fire brigade numbers close and must take all precautions to avoid outbreaks of fires that may lead to loss of life,” she said.

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