A 10-year-old girl was shot dead and four adults were wounded in Adams Mission in Durban at the weekend.
A relative loaded the injured on a bakkie and raced to the local fire station for help.
Paramedics in two advanced life-support vehicles and two ambulances were at the scene within minutes.
"It was like a war zone," said Chris Botha of Netcare 911. "People were lying all over the courtyard.
"Unfortunately the best efforts of paramedics to resuscitate a 10-year-old girl were unsuccessful. She died of the severe injuries she had sustained."
The paramedics and firemen then focused on three men who were seriously injured.
"They were all in a critical condition. After stabilising them they were transported to hospital," he said.
The motive for the shooting is not known.