A tragedy unfolded on Sunday evening at the Purple Moss shelter in Zandfontein near Brits in the North West when a fire broke out at the shelter and claimed the lives of five family members.
JP Bingham (26), Esmé Labotske (25) and their three children Benjamin (8), Mianique (3) and Luané (2) died in the fire.
According to reports, the fire broke out shortly before 21:00 and may have been caused by a candle that fell over during load shedding.
According to Hartbeespoort Emergency Medical Service (HEMS), the fire caused serious damage to the building, where many people live. The fire was extinguished in collaboration with the Madibeng fire brigade. The family was trapped in the burning building and was pronounced dead at the scene.
AfriForum Hartbeespoort said the fire deeply affected the communities of Brits and Hartbeespoort.
This led to extensive damage to the building and many people lost their places to live. The food store was also destroyed in the fire, said Natasha Britz from AfriForum Hartbeespoort.
“Although the fire was successfully contained, the damage is significant. Many families not only lost their homes, but also their food, clothing, bedding and personal belongings. They now face the daunting task of rebuilding their lives from the ground up.”
Various actions have meanwhile been launched to try to assist those affected by the tragedy with essentials such as food and clothing.