Ten-year-old boy rescues mother‚ cousin from shack fire

A ten year-old rescued his mother from a fire.
A ten year-old rescued his mother from a fire.
Image: 123RF/ Weerachai Khumfu

A ten-year-old rescued his mother and two-year-old cousin from a shack fire in which his infant nephew‚ Athaluve Sixakwe‚ died in the early hours of Monday. The fire left 70 people homeless in Kwa 5‚ Doornback informal settlement‚ opposite Dunoon near Milnerton‚ Cape Town.

The grade 4 Sophakama Primary School pupil‚ Aphelele Ntsukumbini‚ was sleeping in the same bed as his mother‚ cousin and nephew. He woke up to find the house ablaze. He instinctively grabbed his little cousin and took him to safety. He returned to find his mother lying on the floor‚ flames licking her right arm. He managed to drag her out.

His mother‚ Nondingazi Ntsukumbini‚ said her son woke her up before he fled with the cousin‚ but she fell off the bed. Then her son came back and pulled her to safety. She tried to describe the events to GroundUp‚ but thinking of those seconds when she lay helpless and suddenly felt the touch of her son rendered her speechless. She said she felt “crazy happy” – the only words she could find - about her son’s selfless action.

“The fire was already fierce at the time and my right arm was burnt‚” she said.

She was treated at the Dunoon Community Health Centre.

When GroundUp asked Aphelele how he felt‚ he started crying. He said he felt bad that he could not save the life of his infant nephew‚ aged one year and eight months.

Siphosethu Mrwetana‚ 22‚ whose shack was nearby‚ said she was first to raise the alarm. She said smoke started choking her in her sleep.

“The fire spread so quickly. I heard children crying in the shack where the fire started‚” she said.

Confirming the blaze‚ City of Cape Town fire and rescue spokesperson Theo Layne said a total of 30 shacks were destroyed. Layne said the fire started shortly after 2am.

“Sadly‚ one male minor received fatal burns. The cause of the fire is undetermined at this stage‚” said Layne.

- This article was originally published by GroundUp.

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