The man who died in a fire that also claimed the lives of his two daughters has been hailed a hero by his long-time partner.
Lesley Grootboom and his daughter, Sadie, 8, died in the fire at the Villiage Heights informal settlement on Saturday May 15 (’Girl, 8, and dad die in Village Heights fire,’ Southern Mail, May 19).
Mr Grootboom’s eldest daughter, Nadine, 22, was badly burned in the fire and died in hospital three days later.
Sadie’s mother, Luzelle Jansen, said her daughter’s father had died a hero.
According to her, they were sleeping when she realised there was a fire in the front section of their shack. She woke everyone up and they tried to find a way out. But there was no back door, and it took neighbours pulling and kicking at the corrugated metal sheets to free them.
“We thought all of us were out, but then we realised Sadie wasn’t there. Lesley went back inside to get her, but they didn’t make it out. He died a hero, trying to save our daughter.”
The family had stopped paying their funeral insurance last year when Lesley had lost his job because of the pandemic, she said, adding that what little they had, had been lost in the fire.
“We lost everything in the fire: documents, clothes, pictures and everything else. We have nothing.”
Anyone willing to assist with burial costs or other aid can call Mr Jansen on 084 445 6778.