A five year old child was among the victims when a home burned down on Sunday night.
Investigating officer, Sergeant NW Nkosi, strongly believes that a petrol bomb was used to start the fire that gutted a Vryheid farm dwelling, leaving four people seriously burned and a family homeless.
Witnesses told the police that the incident followed a lovers’ quarrel between one of the residents of the farm dwelling and her boyfriend, who had threatened to set fire to the house during an emotional outburst the previous day.
“The people who were in the house said they heard an explosion at about 9:30pm on Sunday night. When I went to the scene the next morning, the house was still smouldering. There is a big hole at the back of the house, where it appears that something may have exploded and there is a strong smell of petrol in the air. The occupants of the house and their neighbours tried to put the fire out with water, but this just made the fire worse,” said Sgt Nkosi.
Steven Hibbert, Vryheid’s fire prevention officer, explained that how you put a fire out depended on the type of material that was burning. “Petrol floats on top of water so, in this instance, the water would just open it (the fire) up. The best thing to have used when putting out this type of fire is sand or very soapy water,” he advised.
Four burn victims, including the five-year old child, were transported to Vryheid District Hospital. The woman, who was targeted in the attack was later transferred to Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg as 80% of her body is covered in burns. The woman’s 65-year old mother was still recovering at Vryheid Hospital at the time of print and the five-year old and the fourth victim were treated and discharged.
Residents who may have information that can assist with the investigation are urged to contact Sgt Nkosi on 082 636 3085.