South Africa: Father Dies Trying to Save Son From Shack Fire

A Mamelodi father died early on Tuesday morning trying to save his teenage son from the flames of their house.

Jimmy Chauke, 61, rushed back into his burning shack in Mamelodi extension 11 to fetch his 11-year-old son Jimmy. But both perished in the flames.

Mamelodi East police spokesperson Sergeant Mabel Sibanda confirmed the deaths.

Neighbour Nkoane Thobejane says he and his wife were woken up in the early hours of the morning to find the Chauke house on fire. The family had rushed outside and called for help. Thobejane says when Michelle Chauke told her father that her twin Michael was still in the house, Jimmy Chauke ran back to try to find his son. "Unfortunately he never came back."

Thobejane and his wife used a hose to try to extinguish the flames and Tshwane firefighters were called. But, says Thobejane, the fire was uncontrollable in the strong wind.

Jimmy Chauke's wife Ester, was admitted to Mamelodi hospital. Michelle, and her other brother Kagiso survived unharmed.

Tshwane Emergency services spokesperson Johan Pieterse said: "After searching underneath the corrugated iron, two bodies were found, of which one was an adult and the other was a youth. We have not identified the victims as they were badly burned beyond recognition."

Their elder son Terrance Chauke, who lives in Soshanguve, said the family had lost everything.

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