A UNAM student Magdelena Nanyala (20) died of gas poisoning in Windhoek on Sunday while her cousin (10) is in the intensive care unit at Katutura Intermediate Hospital.
A family member found Nanyala dead on Monday morning, while 10-year-old Natalia was barely clinging to life.
Shitaleni Herman, who is Magdelena and Natalia's guardian, said while the family was grieving for Magdelena, they were happy that Natalia was alive.
"They have been staying with me in Windhoek for a long time now, and I regard them as my daughters," he said, adding that Magdelene had the gas heater on while she was watching TV on Sunday evening.
When she went to bed, Herman said, Magdelena took the heater with her into the room where Natalia was asleep.
Natalia, who was found by the door, while Magdelena was dead, had to be rushed to the hospital.
Herman said the last conversation they had with Magdelena was about a book she had asked him to buy her.
"The book is called 'It's not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be' by Paul Arden," he said, adding that he couldn't find the book and had to order one.
Herman also said that Natalia was now out of danger.
"Natalia is a little fighter because, on Monday, there was no hope and we were told around 09h00 that she was not going to make it, but the doctors had confidence.
"At 15h00, the doctors got the first sign of her responding, and ever since she has been fighting. Although by then we were scared of possible brain, heart and kidney damage, we had faith that she would pull through, and she did," Herman said.
He thus warned people to be careful with gas heaters.
"I hope by sharing this story, it can help save a life. What happened to our family is terrible. Parents must please make sure their children switch off the heaters before going to bed," he stressed.