18 pets scatter as fire ravages EL home
No one was injured but there was still confusion over the safety of their 10 dogs, five cats and three birds which were missing, perhaps in the care of neighbours, late yesterday.
An African Grey parrot, however, died in the flames.
Frere Road homeowner Anna Hartwig, 64, said she was in the garden, and then decided to take a bath before dinner.
However, she accidently knocked over a gas heater which may not have been sealed correctly.
“The fire started in my bedroom and I suspect the gas cylinder must not have been closed properly and when I kicked it, it must have given off a spark which caused the fire.
“I tried dousing the fire with a mat but it just did not stop so I ran downstairs and into the street screaming for help,” Hartwig said.
She added that when she tried returning to her bedroom after calling a neighbour, “there was smoke everywhere and it was pitch black”.
“We heard the cylinder explode and ran back outside.”
Hartwig, who shares the house with her husband and their two daughters, was still shaken when the Daily Dispatch arrived at the scene.
One of her daughters, Megan Hartwig, 35, who received a call from her mom while driving home from work, said they were really worried about the animals.
“I am quite overwhelmed and upset because we grew up in this home and to come home to a house on fire is devastating.
“It is quite a shock, but luckily my mother is okay.
“Our biggest concern is the animals because we don’t know if they are okay, they all just scattered,” Megan said.
Her sister, Wendy Hartwig, 32, was too emotional to comment.
The family believe the fire started after 3pm yesterday.
Neighbours were seen helping the family and offering shelter for the dogs rescued and three remaining birds.
Buffalo City Metro spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said no foul play was suspected and the ground level of the two-storey house was saved.
“We received a call about a double-storey house on fire and dispatched a fire engine and a support vehicle.
“We managed to save the ground floor and at this stage there’s no foul play suspected,” Ngwenya said.