South Africa, Durban – A fire victim, 11-year-old Kiara was awoken by her family screaming at her to get off the bed and run. She got out of the house but sustained burns to her hands, face, and ears. According to her relieved father, Byron Wilson, she is now doing much better.
According to emergency services at the scene, the flat caught fire minutes after an explosion at the nearby Engen Refinery. Although the cause of the refinery fire has yet to be determined, it is alleged that embers from that fire landed on the flat’s roof.
Wilson said his mother had been hanging washing on a nearby line while Kiara lay asleep on the bed. He said when people started screaming, his mother ran to get Kiara. Wilson said his nephew was in another room and also got out.
He said his mother had lived in the Wiest Road flat for the last 30 years and lost many belongings in the blaze.
Wilson said his mother, brother, and nephew was relocated to a nearby BnB.
“I just want Engen to take responsibility for what happened. I had to pay for Kiara’s treatment and who is now going to reimburse me?”
He said inspectors assessed the damage on Wednesday and he was waiting to hear what would happen next.
Meanwhile, residents gathered outside Engen’s main gate on Wednesday morning to stage a placard demonstration calling on the company to take the health issues of people living around the refinery seriously.
Community activist and leader of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, Desmond D’Sa, said they had hoped to hand over a list of grievances and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to either the Chief Executive Officer or General Manager at Engen.
“We were not prepared to speak to any juniors so we will be back on Friday to hand over our grievances and MOU to either the CEO or GM,” D’Sa said.