SAWDIS Share Buttons

SAWDIS Share Buttons:

14 December 2011

Blaze teacher’s lesson in bravery

Nontando Dase with some of the creche kids. Photo: Patrick Louw

Meet the brave teacher who saved an entire pre-school from a hellish fire that destroyed 15 shacks.

If it were not for quick-thinking Nontando Dase, she and the 35 little angels in her care could have died in the blaze on Saturday.

And while she is glad they escaped with their lives, the daycare centre is left in ruins.

All the clothes, food and toys, donated to the Masithembane Daycare Centre in Wallacedene ahead of the festive season, have been destroyed.

The 43-year-old caregiver tells the Daily Voice about her harrowing brush with death as she sifts through the remains of her RDP house which served as the daycare.

Nontando cares for 35 kids between the ages of four months and eight years.

So when she heard people screaming that a fire was spreading fast, she immediately sprang into action.

She says some of the children were sleeping in a back room while she was feeding a group of toddlers in another room when she heard the neighbours’ frantic screams.

“I suddenly heard people screaming outside… There were four children sleeping in the back room where the flames were coming from,” Notando recalls.

“The house was then suddenly engulfed in smoke.

“I ran to the room and saw this big blaze coming through the window.”

The mother of two explains that she immediately picked up three kids at once and dashed to safety, handing them to neighbours before she ran back inside.

With the intense heat scorching everything in its path, Nontando dashed back into the house to save the last child left in the room.

“People helped me with the other children… I still cannot believe that I made it out,” she says.

“I want to thank God for all the strength he gave me.”

Looking down at the little ones she cares for, she adds: “These kids could have died from the smoke.”

And while residents are relieved the kids survived, they are now baying for the blood of the man who they believe started the fire.

Residents told the Daily Voice men were hunting for the man who is believed to have fled Wallacedene.

They say he started the fire after an argument with his girlfriend.

Resident Willemina Appels, 50, whose house was partially burnt, says the fire destroyed her Christmas.

“The fire destroyed all the windows and curtains I just bought for Christmas,” she tells the Daily Voice.

”I wish they could find this man so that he repay us for all this.”

Neighbour Someleze Koki, 29, says she came home to find that the side of her tiny RDP house burnt.

“The fire destroyed the electricity box – we have lost everything here,” she says.

“We are very angry with the man who started the fire, he must come and explain why he did this, especially this time of the year.”

* This article was published in the Daily Voice