IT’S a holy place and nobody expected it to happen.
But yesterday Tumi Madonsela (4) burnt to death in church while playing alone. Nobody knows how the fire started.
Pule Phaka (17) said his father, church pastor Harry Mantsha, was traumatised. He said he was sleeping in the other room in the church when the boy’s sister came to call him.
“She told me there was a fire and her brother was trapped inside the storeroom. I saw huge flames. I tried to put out the fire, but I couldn’t.”
He went outside to call the neighbours.
“But there was very little we could do.”
The boy’s mum, Mpho Madonsela, (33), who was at the clinic at the time, couldn’t believe her son is gone.
Sergeant Media Khoza said: “A 17-year-old was woken up by his eight-year-old niece screaming for help, who told him her brother was trapped.”
She said Pule rushed to the room, but he couldn’t get inside. “He tried putting out the fire but it was too much. He ran to call neighbours, who used buckets of water until the fire brigade arrived, but it was too late because the boy had succumbed to his injuries. The cause of fire is unknown and investigations are underway.”
Pastor Harry said: “I’ve never seen this coming. I’m devastated and I loved that boy.”
Dad Thulani Manzini (28) said: “My son was bright and I looked forward to many things from him.”
Mpho said they lost everything in the fire and were appealing for donations. “I’m going to miss my boy’s laughter,” she said, tears in her eyes.