Faulty meter blamed for fire

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Luthando Debese and his wife, Yolanda, a few days after their house was gutted in Khayelitsha  Picture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA
Luthando Debese and his wife, Yolanda, a few days after their house was gutted in Khayelitsha Picture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

A COUPLE from Kwazakhele in Khayelitsha, whose house was gutted last week, has blamed the fire on a faulty electricity meter.
Homeowner Luthando Debese said he believed that a fault, which they reported to the Enoch Mgijima Municipality electrical department, had not been repaired properly.
He said he noticed sparks coming out of the electricity box at home and had called the municipality.
“Technicians were sent on the same day around 7pm,” Debese said.
“They installed a wire to bridge the problem so that we would have electricity that night.”
On the following day, Luthando said, the technicians replaced the face of the board.
“I told them the area with the plugs and wires [caused] the problems, but nothing further was done. We were given free units and when they were exhausted I bought electricity. When I put the electricity in the meter, it did not accept it. I reported the case and technicians came to try and fix it but without success.”
He said technicians then consulted with the technical services department and were told that the pre-paid meter had rejected the numbers because the power was a mode one structure and the units were for a mode five structure.
Debese said the problem was eventually sorted out.
“A few days later my wife called to inform me that the house was on fire.”
His wife, Yolanda, said she was in an outside room when their seven-year-old daughter called out to tell her that the house was on fire.
The child managed to flee from the house as Yolanda said it was already too hot for her to get into the bedroom where her daughter had been.
She did, however, manage to reach the kitchen and saw sparks coming from the electrical box.
“The ceiling was hot as the fire [travelled] up the wires.”
Neighbours tried to help extinguish the blaze and the fire brigade arrived within a short time, but nothing could be done. Debese said he was unhappy that the ward councillor had not paid them a visit in the midst of their crisis.
Enoch Mgijima Municipality spokesman Fundile Feketshane said the municipality was looking into the matter.

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