Family of four, including toddler, perish in shack fire

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Four people, including a two-year-old boy, were burnt beyond recognition inside their shack after it caught fire in Mpumalanga.

The tragedy took place at Emzinoni township near Bethal after the family apparently left a paraffin lamp burning when they went to sleep.

Neighbours told police that they saw flames at about 1.30am and called for help while trying to extinguish the fire with buckets of water.

Police identified the victims as Thando Mhlabathi, 2, Ronnie Mhlabathi, 42, Linah Madonsela, 40, and Thokozani Mhlabathi, 35.

"It was horrible and avoidable. We are asking families who use lamps and candles to be extra careful because of the dangers they pose," said Mpumalanga police spokesman Superintendent Abie Khoabane yesterday.

Police have opened four inquest dockets.