City of Cape Town Water and Sanitation Pinelands sewer depot save two-month old baby from a house fire. She was covered in smoke.

In a remarkable display of bravery and quick thinking, the City of Cape Town Water and Sanitation Pinelands sewer depot team emerged as unexpected heroes when they responded to a house fire in Heideveld.

The incident unfolded last Monday, 20 November, as the team was returning from addressing a sewer blockage in Athlone.

The team’s impromptu rescue mission unfolded as they were forced to leave the area they were servicing due to a nearby shooting incident.

While driving down Klipfontein Road, they spotted the blazing house and intervened.

Upon encountering the double-storey residence engulfed in flames, eight officials from the sewer depot immediately shifted gears to become first responders.

Acting swiftly, they evacuated a family from the perilous situation, including a two-month-old baby trapped in an upstairs bedroom.

READ ALSO: WATCH: Smoke, devastation and prayer on the frontline with firefighters ‘saving a nation’

Working as a team

Splitting the tasks, some officials focused on evacuating the parents and three young children, ensuring their safety.

Meanwhile, two officials exhibited courage by climbing onto the roof of the garage. Breaking through a window, they successfully rescued the baby.

One of the rescuers, Lee-Roy Sheldon, told The Citizen he saw a woman on the balcony screaming for help and he sprung into action with his adrenaline pumping.

“It was instict that kicked in. A child is the world. That is our next generation. To save a life, I can thank God. The team as well, I want to thank them. Its was the whole. I never had fear in that moment. God was with us,” he said.

“I kicked the gate open. The family got out and they were screaming that the baby was still upstairs. I saw the ceiling drop down. I wanted to wet myself so that I could run in if I needed to but there was no water. My one collegue Claudia [Josias] took the other children and looked after them. The lady told me the baby is stuck upstairs. I broke the windows but I couldn’t fit in,” said Sheldon.

He added that a someone came and went in and got the baby. He gave Sheldon the baby and she had black smoke on her.

READ ALSO: Johannesburg CBD fire death toll rises as two children die in Fleurhof shack blaze

Baby covered in smoke

“I wiped her face and she was breathing and blowing bubbles out her nose. One of the neighbours agreed to take her to the hospital because it was smoke inhalation so we rushed and on the way she started to breathe heavily.

“We got to the day hospital. I ran to [the] emergency section. I told them the mother and father are also burnt so I am going to fetch them and bring them here but in five minutes the fire truck and ambulance arrived,” he described.

Utilising the resources at their disposal, the team employed non-potable water from their jet combination truck, typically used for sewer blockages, to extinguish the fire before the arrival of the City’s Fire and Rescue services.

READ ALSO: Homes gutted by fire

City employees, including Lee-Roy Sheldon, Gideon Tyman, Naziem De Jager, Verona Joseph, Ismail Boer, Quinton Sakala, Faeeza Malherbe, and Claudia Josias, were commended for their exceptional service by the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation, Zahid Badroodien.

“The heroism that this team displayed shows how officials are everyday working together towards truly making Cape Town a City of Hope.

“They lived our City values boldly and put everything aside to respond to the call of duty. Also commendable is the sincerity and care for the wellbeing of the family in their time of need,” said Zahid Badroodien.

In a heartfelt gesture, the officials went beyond their professional obligations, sponsoring basic essentials for the affected family in their personal capacity to aid in rebuilding their lives


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