By Lynne Gadd-Claxton
A UITENHAGE father of four died after he bravely rushed into a neighbour’s burning home to save a woman and her toddler at midday yesterday.
Shaid Mohamed, 43, died in the Uitenhage Provincial Hospital later after he had been evacuated by a Uitenhage Fire Department official who arrived at the scene shortly after the fire broke out at the Cannon Street, Central Uitenhage home.
A traumatised Delirees Windvogel and her two-year-old child, Bandile, who Mohamed was attempting to rescue, escaped the fire unharmed.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Marianette Olivier said the fire had broken out at 12.20pm in the main bedroom of the Windvogel’s home, which was gutted by the blaze.
She said Mohamed, who lived a few houses away in the same street, had rushed into the house in bid to rescue the mother and child.
"When the fire department arrived at the scene they were informed by witnesses of Mohamed still being trapped inside the house. One of the officials went in and rescued the man,” said Olivier, who added that he died later at Uitenhage Provincial Hospital.
Olivier said the cause of the fire was still unknown.
Speaking after the tragedy late yesterday, Windvogel told Weekend Post she was still in shock over his death. "I feel such a terrible sadness for Shahid and his family. He was the breadwinner. He was a true hero and the embodiment of a neighbour,” she said emotionally.
"It is still so surreal. I cannot believe it. Everything is gone ... I have lost all my important documents such as ID and bank cards,” she said, adding that she was salvaging what she could from the home.
Windvogel, who confirmed that the fire had started in the main bedroom, explained that she had been in the lounge when she saw thick black smoke coming from the bedroom.
"I immediately grabbed Bandile, and I ran out the house. The house was gutted with in minutes."
"The support from my family and my husband's family has been wonderful. They are all here helping us pack up what we can,” she said.
Mohamed’s wife Shannaaz Mohamed said she could not believe that her husband was dead.
"He was such a kind person and always willing to help everyone where he could. I am still in shock and cannot believe it," she said.
"The Muslim community support has been unconditional in this difficult time,” she said.
Mohamed, who had worked for Rocklands Poultry, was a father to a 6, 10, 12 and 18 year old.
This is a version of an article that appeared in the print edition of the Weekend Post on Saturday, December 29, 2012.