Westlake family needs help after fire

Jamie Petersen

A Westlake resident whose home was engulfed in a fire earlier this year, is pleading for help to get the family back on their feet.

Margeret Lotz, 58, who has lived in her two-bedroomed Westlake home for 26 years, lost most of her and her family’s belongings in a fire in February this year.

Ms Lotz’s three grandchildren and son and daughter-in-law lived in a bungalow on the property. The bungalow was one of four on the property that were destroyed on the night of the fire.

The only person who works in the household is Ms Lotz’s daughter-in-law, Nicolene, 38, who works as a grape picker at Groot Constantia. Her son Steven, 37, had a heart operation three months ago and hasn’t been able to find work since.

Ms Lotz said a man who was sleeping outside on her property on the night of the fire, was allegedly the one who caused the fire.

“He comes to sleep here at night,” she said. Ms Lotz said the man apparently threw a lit match in the outside dirt bin. “There was paper in the bin.”

Ms Lotz asked her neighbours if they knew who started the fire and was told it was this man.

When she confronted him about it, he denied that he started the fire.

“I asked him, and he said no it wasn’t him.”

She said the bungalows on her property were made of corrugated iron. There were two at the back of the house and two at the front. In each of them there were people sleeping on the night of the fire.

“My son and daughter-in-law’s bungalow was also burning,” she said.

The fire spread to the house through a window at the back of the house. Although no one was injured or hurt in the fire, the family took Ms Lotz’s two-year-old grandson, Jovan, to hospital because he has chest problems.

“I took him to the hospital but the doctor said there’s nothing wrong with him.”

Ms Lotz was unable to save many of her possessions. “I lost all my things, I saved nothing. I had a tv and DStv, it all burnt.”

When it rains, water leaks through the roof and the window that the fire destroyed. “If it rains all the water comes through the window and roof.” Ms Lotz and her family have received blankets and a pair of shoes from the community and the Red Cross Society, while the Catholic Church in Constantia gave them cans of beans.

If you want to help, the Lotz family can be contacted through their neighbour, Carmen Roberts, on 072 722 5869.