So yesterday morning i recieved a few tweets from folks in the Cape Town asking if i knew anything about a building on fire in the CBD. It was soon identified as a semi-detached house in Harrington Street, but i didn’t hear more details until this morning. Turns out that the home belongs to 68 year old Elizabeth Barrett who saved 14 children from the burning building…including 6 of her own grandchildren. She even went back into the fire to rescue one of the trapped children. Barrett has lived there for 30 years and takes children off the streets, feeds them ,clothes them and puts them through school. What a hero. She lost all her possessions in the blaze though and if ever there was a opportunity for SA brands to pull together and play Santa i don’t think there is anyone more deserving than Barrett.
The story is front page of the Cape Times this morning and people have already started donating food and clothing.
“Barrett said she had been preparing porridge in the kitchen when she smelt burning wires.
One of the children woke up and told her smoke was coming from a bedroom.
The child helped her push the bedroom door open.
“There was a lot of smoke in the room. Then the fire came up straight to my face. I said to the children, ‘you must wake the others and we must run’, because the fire was too strong.”
As the children ran out of the house Barrett counted them. One was missing.
“I saw that there were 13 children and they are supposed to be 14.
“I ran (back into the house) upstairs and I screamed, ‘Who is upstairs? Is anybody upstairs?’
“I saw one of the boys, he was under the bed next to the room where the fire was.
“I pulled him out underneath, but it was so dark from the smoke. It was black smoke all over the house.” [iol]
What a hero.