Inhaled smoke claims 3 lives

Details of the events leading to the find of three people suspected to have died of smoke inhalation in Lower Crossroads were still not clear by Wednesday.

On Saturday morning, a police report stated that the lifeless bodies of an unidentified woman,25, Mawonga Mpekula,55, and Nozibele Mcunukelwa,55, were discovered by Ayanda Mpekula,25, Mawonga’s son.

Ayanda said they were all in a “sitting position” when he discovered them.

Philippi East police spokesperson Bheki Xulu said it is believed the trio died of smoke inhalation and were found inside the house.

This is the second time toxic fumes are believed to be behind the deaths of family members.

A fortnight ago, coal fumes claimed the lives of Noncedile Masina, Sisipho Ntshinga and a family friend known then only as Simamkele, in Kuyasa.

Bheki Xulu said the cause of the “fire” is unknown. He said the incident happened at 06.40 and three people had died as a result.

Ayanda said he received a call from a friend about his father’s house being on fire.

“When I got there, the fire was already out and what I found was very strange,” he said. “They were all sitting on the chairs. The light was still on.”

Mcunukelwa’s daughter, Ncumisa Qolo said she is devastated by her mother’s death.

She said she had warned her mother not to go anywhere on that day(Saturday).

Residents who extinguished the blaze said it became impossible to save the trio as the burglar gate was locked. “We shouted their names and tried to open the door.”