Girls aged 2, 4 and 5 die in fire

THREE sisters died when a man believed to be their mother's boyfriend allegedly set their house alight while they were asleep on Saturday.

It is believed that the 36-year -old suspect quarreled with the children's mother, Bongekile Dlamini, causing her to flee her home in Bulwer, KwaZulu-Natal, leaving them behind.

It is alleged that the suspect, who cannot be named until he appears in court today, came back later that night and set the house alight.

The neighbours noticed that the house was on fire and got the girls out of the house, but they died, apparently from smoke inhalation.

The sisters, whose names have not been released, were aged two, four and five. They had no visible burns.

Police spokesperson Hendry Budhram said they had arrested a man believed to be the suspect.

"He has been charged with three counts of murder and is expected to appear in the Bulwer magistrate's court today."

In another incident in Imbali township, outside Pietermaritzburg, an elderly couple burnt to death when their shack burnt down on Saturday night.

The cause of the fire has not yet been established, but it has been alleged that it was caused by a candle.

When ER24 paramedics arrived at the scene they found the local fire department extinguishing the blaze.

Derrick Banks of ER24 said once the fire had been extinguished a search team went into the house to search for survivors.

Emergency personnel found the bodies of two people.

"It is believed that the bodies are that of an old couple," he said.

Banks said the paramedics at the scene treated two residents who had sustained severe burns on their hands and feet when they tried to put out the blaze.

They were stabilised and hospitalised for further treatment.

The police have opened an inquest docket to establish the cause of the fire.