Kalkfontein fire kills family of four

Jerome Duimpies died in the fire.

Kalkfontein is in shock after a family of four, including two children, died in a wendy house fire in Elizabeth Street on Tuesday, June 2.

Jerome Duimpies , 39, his girlfriend, Nikita Devilliers, 25, and their daughters, Jerovia, 9, and Jade, 2, died in the blaze.

The City’s Fire and Rescue Service said the fire started just before 3am on Tuesday and was still being investigated.

Bianca Claasen said her four family members had been burnt beyond recognition and the family was grappling to come to terms with the tragedy.

Nikita’s middle daughter, Jade, 6, had slept in the main house that night and was in shock, said Ms Claasen, who lives two doors away from where the fire broke. She was woken up by neighbours who called for help to extinguish the flames.

“When I got there, I was shocked to see the flames higher than the main house, while the family remained trapped inside.”

 All had been silent inside the wendy house as the roof had caved in, Ms Claasen said. She believes the family was already dead by the time the community came to their aid.

A second wendy house on the property and the main house did not suffer fire damage.

 “The community feels like they have not done enough to save this family, but it is not in their hands,” Ms Claasen said.

Nikita and Jerome would be remembered as “people’s persons”, she said. “They could mingle with anyone, and Nikita was the same every day.”

Jervovia, she said, had been one to tease all of them and had been a “jovial child”, while Jade had had a “beautiful smile”.

 Community activist Johannes Pula said he had been called to the scene of the fire and had been devastated by what he had witnessed.

 “The burnt body parts were still there before forensics came and this upset me,” he said.

Ward 19 councillor Ebrahim Sawant said he and Ward 11 councillor Desiree Visagie had offered to help with funeral arrangements.

“It is sad to see that the family has suffered such a great loss. We will help where we can,” he said.