Police investigating after Man, 86, dies in flat fire

An 86-year-old man died after a fire broke out in a kitchen at Creswell House in Newlands.

An autopsy will be done on the body of an 86-year-old man who died after firefighters found him with severe burns from a kitchen fire at a block of flats in Newlands, say police.

Creswell House, in Spring Way, is owned by social-housing non-profit company Communicare.

Firefighters responded to a report of a flat alight, on Sunday, at about 11.20am, according to City Fire and Rescue spokesman Jermaine Carelse.

“Upon arrival, it was discovered that there was a fire in the kitchen, on the ground floor of the flat, and firefighters searched the premises,” he said.

They found the man unresponsive with burns to his back and face. “CPR was initiated by the fire service, but he was declared deceased,” Mr Carelse said.

Another man was taken to hospital with second-degree burns.

The fire was extinguished shortly before 12.30pm; it’s cause was unknown, said Mr Carelse.

Police are investigating the incident.

The dead man had also suffered internal burn injuries and smoke inhalation, and an autopsy would be done to determine his exact cause of death, said Claremont police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Marnus Fourie.

“The inside of the flat was severely damaged due to the fire, and the cause of the fire could not be determined as of yet,” he said, adding that a preliminary investigation had found that the fire had started rapidly and by the time it had been discovered at about 11am, the 86-year-old man had already suffered fatal injuries.

Communicare’s chief operating officer Makhosi Kubheka said the man had been a Communicare tenant for many years and she was devastated to learn of his death.

“I extend my condolences to his family on behalf of Communicare during this tough time.”

Communicare social workers had offered trauma and grief counselling to the dead man’s family and other tenants, she said.

Communicare would not divulge the man’s identity, saying his family were still in mourning.