Neighbours rushed to help but could not enter the blaze

Boitumelo Tshehle

Boitumelo Tshehle

Two girls were burnt to death and their parents sustained injuries after their house was destroyed by an explosion and fire at their home in Makhubung near Mafikeng in North West.

Lebogang Sekolokotwane, 14, and her five-year-old sister, Mothusi, were helping their father pour petrol into a generator when it caught fire and burst, burning them beyond recognition.

Their injured parents Jeanette, 43, and Mothusi Sekolokotwane, 45, were taken to the Mafikeng Hospital.

Neighbour Mamorena Molefe said Mothusi had been trying to pour petrol into a generator next to two gas bottles, one of which was used for a refrigerator that had an open flame at the back, when there was an explosion.

The explosion sent objects flying out of the house, one of which, a pot, hit a neighbour, Kgang Kapile, on the head while he was trying to help. At the same time a fire started which spread rapidly.

Only one family member, 11-year-old Thabo Sekolokotwane, survived unscathed because he was at one of the neighbour's home at the time.

Molefe said she heard a loud noise, and rushed outside.

"I saw smoke coming out of the house and I ran towards it to help," she said.

"The house was covered with fire and no one could get inside. We used buckets of water and soil to extinguish the fire."

Ward councillor Saane Betrand yesterday said the municipality would try to help.

"Normally we give victims blankets and shelter to stay in, but I think we will build a house for them," she said.

The children's grandparents said they could not believe it when told that their daughter's house was in ashes and that the two children had died.

"We are in shock and hurting," they said.

Mmabatho police said an arson and two inquest cases had been opened.