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Suspicion surrounds fire death


The remains of a burnt tyre were seen yesterday near where the door of the shanty used to be

SUSPICIOUS: David-Luckyboy Booysen (above right) died in a shack fire early yesterday morning in John Daka Street, Galeshewe. Picture: Soraya Crowie

SUSPICION surrounds the death of a city man who died in a shack fire during the early hours of yesterday morning.

A charred body, believed to be that of 28-year-old David-Luckyboy Booysen, was discovered yesterday morning on a bed in a shack in Transit Camp that had earlier been engulfed in flames.

Residents in the area, who extinguished the blaze, said yesterday that the fire had been started by someone who placed a burning tyre outside the door of the shanty.

“There was someone who placed a tyre against the door of the shanty. The person then set the tyre alight which resulted in the burning of the door of the shanty. It seems the smoke from the tyre as well as the fire from the door made the deceased drowsy and unable to come out,” several residents said.

Other residents, however, believe that the fire started inside the shanty.

“There are some who believe that the brazier inside the shanty started the fire. Hopefully the cause of the fire will be revealed as law enforcement agencies investigate the matter.”

The remains of a burnt tyre were seen yesterday near where the door of the shanty used to be.

Residents said they managed to extinguish the blaze before the fire brigade arrived.

“We ran and got buckets of water to extinguish the fire. When the fire brigade arrived most of the blaze had died down. We could see a badly burnt man lying on the bed after the structure was taken apart.”

Booysen’s sister, Shereen Booysen, said yesterday that she is praying that it was not her brother who died in the blaze.

“It was not my brother’s shanty and he was merely looking after that shanty. However, since the person who died was burnt beyond recognition, I am clinging to the hope that it was not my brother in that shanty,” said Shereen as her eyes welled up with tears.

She said that she had been told about the incident by her 17-year-old son.

“I heard about the fire after 6am from my son who saw people fighting the fire when he was on his way to school. He came running back home and told me that the shanty my brother was looking after was burning. He said I must go see if it was my brother.

“When I arrived at the scene, the people had already extinguished most of the fire. I stood there for a little while and then decided to go to my brother’s friends to see whether he did not spend the night at their house. They told me that he was with them the previous night but went to the shanty to sleep.

“I then returned to the scene of the fire and the authorities were busy removing the remains. The police told me that they will inform me later whether it was indeed my brother who had died.”

Police spokesperson Captain Bashoabile Kale said that the police are investigating the matter.

“The Kagisho police are investigating an inquest after a man burned to death in a shack fire on Tuesday morning, July 9, 2019, at about 5am, in Transit Camp in Galeshewe. It is believed that the deceased warmed the shack with a brazier which is suspected to be the cause of the fire,” said Kale.

There have been a spate of fires in the area recently and yesterday a single mother in Reserve Street, Coleen January, told how a fire had destroyed her livelihood.

January said that her house caught fire two weeks ago after one of her tenants apparently left a kettle boiling when he went to work and it exploded.

“I stay in the shanty behind the house with my daughter. I rent out my house as a means to have an income as I am currently unemployed. The house caught fire when one of the tenants, who was renting one of the rooms inside the house, left a kettle boiling when he was at work. The fire was caused by the kettle that exploded and caused an electrical fault.

“The other tenants ran out of the house and we extinguished the blaze. The property of the other tenants were destroyed in the fire. The electric appliances, such as the fridge and the microwave, were also destroyed in the fire. I am glad that nobody got hurt during the incident,” January said.

She added that she now has try do extensive repair work to the house, which is her only source of income.

“It is very tough as I do not have money to repaint the walls and put in new windows. Renting out the rooms of the house provided me with a livelihood but now I am left with no tenants and have to fit the bill for the renovations,” January sighed.