Fire tragedy at Henties Bay

Eileen van der Schyff

Two children died in a shack fire at Henties Bay over the weekend after their father allegedly locked them up in his shack at Henties Bay’s Omdel neighbourhood. A lit candle caused the shack fire which killed both the children, aged 8 and 9.

These deaths brings the total to five child fatalities in Erongo the last two weeks and of which the root cause of these deaths are children left unattended.
According to the police report, the two children burnt beyond recognition at Henties Bay’s Omdel when the shack they were sleeping in caught fire and was razed to the ground. Katrina Immanuel (9) and her brother Thomas Immanuel (8) were killed. It is alleged that the father locked his children in with a padlock from the outside of the shack. According to Detective Chief Inspector Gurirab, staff officer to the Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator, the father failed to blow out a burning candle before he left.
In two separate incidents earlier near Karibib and Otjimbingwe three children drowned in two separate cases after being left unattended. A 14-year-old drowned in a swimming pool during a church outing and near Otjimbingwe two five-year-old boys drowned in a farm dam in the moments no one was looking after them.
The question was asked over and over the past few weeks – could any of these child deaths be prevented. Many’s answer is clear: a lack of adult supervision and adult judgment were the causes of these deaths. With the holiday season fast approaching, parents are urged to plan ahead and be vigilant to protect their children to everyday dangers lurking in and around the house.

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