Tragedy struck the South African coastal city of Durban when a fire broke out in an orphanage, the Lakehaven Children’s Home, killing 6 children and a 21-year-old.
The tragic incident which occurred on Thursday, July 14, 2016, claimed the lives children ranging from 8 years to 21. Four people were injured in the fire and were taken to different hospitals for treatment.
The cause of the fire is unknown at the time of filing this report, but it is believed that the outbreak began in the boys’ orphanage.
Firefighters arrived at the scene of the fire and managed to extinguished the fire after four hours, at about 6.30am local time.
Robert McKenzie, spokesperson of the emergency services for Durban’s KwaZulu-Natal province, confirmed the incident to the press. He said that they received calls regarding the fire at about 2.20 am and said that the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.
“Tragically seven people were killed, among them several children. Reports from the scene is that much of the building has been destroyed,” McKenzie told AFP.
It would be recalled that In February 2010, a fire killed 13 children and two adults at another orphanage in the same province of KwaZulu-Natal, southeast of the country.
And in August, 2010, 22 elderly people died in a fire at a retirement home in Nigel, southeastern outskirts of Johannesburg.
The following year, June,2011, 12 residents of a home for the mentally disabled in the town of Springs east of Johannesburg were killed in an overnight fire.
Speaking to News24 outside the premises of Lakehaven Child and Youthcare Centre in Sea Cow Lake, KwaZulu-Natal department of social development spokesperson Ncumisa Ndelu, said that investigations into the genesis of the fire incidence were in motion.
She said that 18 people, including two child minders, had been asleep inside a cottage when it caught fire.
According to a profile on the Child Welfare Durban and District (CWDD) website, the centre has been in existence since 1958.
The CWDD project is registered to cater for the needs of 60 children between the ages of 6 years to 18 years who are abused, neglected and abandoned and securing families for the children
Lakehaven said all the children at the orphanage were placed via a court order.
“Our aim is to provide children at risk with an environment that is stimulating, motivating, and equip them with skills to become self-sufficient and positive leaders in the future,” it says.
“We regard empowerment as the key to social and emotional well-being and development of children. This will enable them to have a sense of pride and dignity. Our challenges are securing a warm and loving family for our children and equipping them with skills.”
Police have closed the orphanage as investigations are carried out into the cause of the fire.
Hattip to News 24