One person dies after his house was gutted down by runway veld fire in Phalaborwa

One person dies after his house was gutted down by runway veld fire in Phalaborwa

One person has died after his house was gutted down by runway veld fire in Phalaborwa, Limpopo. Alec Osmers died in hospital a day after the fire incident. Osmers is said to have complained about chest pains after working all night long trying to save his burning property.

Black patches and the strong scent of smoke are all one finds in the small mining town of Phalaborwa while the 13 affected families try to piece their lives back together, the pain cuts deeper for the Osmers family.

The family lost its patriarch a day after the devastating fire. Phalaborwa Community Policing Forum chairperson Anton Kellerman says this is a sad event for them.

“He lost his house in this devastating fire, and we understand that he was suffering from a cardiac problem before this incident. We were informed on Sunday that he was not feeling well, he was complaining of chest pains. His family rushed him to the hospital and last night we were informed that he unfortunately passed away. It’s a very sad event for us for the whole community. He was a pillar in the community to lose such a person. I am hoping and thinking that it was because of all the stress and trauma that affected him,” says Kellerman.

Video: Limpopo COGHSTA MEC visits fire-hit families in Phalaborwa

What used to be a source of employment for six employees at the Elegenance Guest House has now been reduced to ashes. Fortunately for the employees, the property owner says she will actively help them get other employment opportunities while temporarily ensuring that they have their next meal.

“We made a promise this morning when we saw them for the first time when they came here, they are also devastated. We have been working together for 23 years to build this place. I will do my best, it won’t be easy because the property is all down, but we will definitely help them,” says Yolinda Sulliwald, of Elegenance Guest House

The Limpopo Department of Corporative Governance has promised to help all the affected families.

“From here together with the executive mayor because the council has declared a local disaster, I am taking the matter to the National Disaster Management Centre through our Provincial Centre to see what it is we can do to support the other 13 households,” says Basikopo Makamu, Limpopo COGSTA MEC.

The full extent of the damage is yet to be determined.

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