Drive to help victims of Obs fire

The fire damaged four semi-detached houses in Grant Street, Observatory, on Thursday May 12.

A campaign has been launched to help the victims of a fire that damaged four semi-detached houses in Observatory.

The fire department got the call-out to Grant Street, at 7am, on Thursday May 12, according to City Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse.

“Crews from Roeland Street, Salt River and Brooklyn were on scene with three fire engines,” he said.

The fire was extinguished after 9am but caused severe structural damage to two of the houses and minor damage to the other two. The cause of the fire was unknown at this stage, said Mr Carelse.

A man and a woman were treated for smoke inhalation and burns and subsequently hospitalised, and two dogs were also injured, he said.

Landlord Justin Ashley said a woman lived in one of the houses with her adult son and daughter, and they had lost everything, including clothing, beds and appliances.

The woman was at work at the time of the fire and her son and daughter were pulled from the burning house by firefighters.

The woman who did not want to be named said she is grateful for the firefighters for saving her children’s life when they were pulled out of the house.

“The children is still in hospital undergoing treatment for their injuries, “she said.She said the family had two dogs, who were both injured in the fire, though the one dog unfortunately died. She says she had three cats as well, though two are safe and sound with her, while the third cat is still missing in the area. She praises her landlord and community for being supportive of their family in their time of need.

“They are still currently in the hospital’s intensive care unit,” said Mr Ashley.

A musician living next door to them had not been home at the time, but the fire had destroyed his piano, books, bed and internet router, he said.

The families living in the houses that had sustained minor damage were still living there, he said.

The Observatory Neighbourhood Watch is running a donation drive with support from the ward councillor’s office to help the victims of the fire.

“One house and family were particularly affected with the two adults badly injured and in hospital. The family has lost everything, and we are appealing for donations of clothes, bedding, kitchen equipment, etc,” said the watch’s acting chairwoman, Carolyn Dudgeon.

Ward councillor Yusuf Mohamed thanked the firefighters for their quick response and the community for coming to the aid of the victims.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families during this time,” he said.

Donations for the fire victims can be delivered to the Observatory Community Centre in Rawston Street. To arrange drop-offs, contact Ms Dudgeon before 2pm at 021 447 9630 or email Mr Mohamed at

All that remains of the lounge in one of the houses.
A bedroom with piano was destroyed in the fire.