Cape Town – Walking back into the room where their two children died on Saturday proved too difficult for two Kensington mothers who lost their daughters in a fire.
Raushan Visser lost her six-year-old daughter, Renecia Visser, and her mother, Valencia Visser, lost her eight-year-old daughter, Keesha Visser.Raushan was too traumatised to talk and sat sombrely on her family couch as visitors came in to offer their condolences on Sunday.
Valencia said the two girls had been sleeping with her in her bed when Renecia woke her to alert her to the flames in the room.She said she had run out of the room to get water and help, but by the time she returned, she hadn’t been able to get back into the room because “the smoke was too much”.
“We have no idea how it started. I think they died of smoke inhalation because they had dark stuff in their noses and in their ears.”
Valencia said she had not been able to go back to that side of the house since the fire and said Raushan had moved out of the house because it was too painful to be there. “It is very hard for her, she moved out now and stays with other people.”
Valencia said she had adopted Keesha when she was four months old and she had got along very well with her granddaughter, Renecia.
The two girls had attended Sunderland Primary where they had been in Grade R and Grade 2.
“They were very happy and active children. Everyone in the street knew them. They were crying when they found out.”
Valencia said her husband was taking it especially hard and had a doctor prescribe something for his nerves. “Those were his children, the apples of his eye. He is too devastated.”
Among the visitors was the Kensington Community Policing Forum (CPF), which offered to support the family in their time of grief. They also offered help with the funeral.
Erica Isaacs, deputy chairperson of the CPF, said the fire was the most tragic thing to happen in their community.
“They said they have been receiving food, but mentioned that they need clothing and we hope to help them in that and see what else they need.”
She said the family needed clothing for two adult males, three adult women and two children.
“If you have any clothing items for the above-mentioned categories, please feel free to drop them off at the home of the CPF Secretary, 24 Patrys Plein, Factreton.
“It will be taken as is and handed over to the family.”
City fire and rescue spokeswoman Liesl Moodie said the fire had started after 10am on Saturday morning .”We are not sure how it started, that is being investigated. It was a fire in a wendy-house, attached to a house, and two girls died of burn wounds.”
Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said an inquest had been opened for the investigation.
The family said they had not yet made plans for a funeral, but a memorial would be held this week.
Last week at least three people were killed in fires, including a child who was killed in a shack fire in Khayelitsha. In the same week, in Dunoon, a man was killed in a blaze that left more than 100 people homeless, and another man died in a fire in Philippi.