Eight people, including seven children, were killed in the blaze at the Lakehaven Child and Youthcare Centre in Sea Cow Lake, Durban North.
It is believed seven of the children killed in the fire have living relatives. One adult also perished in the blaze.
Jodie-Lee Donnison, who is passionate about selfless work involving young children, said she was devastated when she heard the news.
“I just couldn’t believe it when the news came through this morning; my heart sank. I work close to where the orphanage is, and I wanted to help where I could. I’m just appealing to the community to donate what they can. If anyone has anything, I urge them to contact me. I will drop off as much stuff as possible this weekend. It’s so heartbreaking,” she said.
Donnison helps various NPOs, including House of Love & Hope (HOLA) and The Benjamin Generation.
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Police, security personnel and eThekwini officials, including the city mayor, James Nxumalo, have visited the centre to offer their condolences.
DA KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson on social development and member of parliament, Rishigen Viranna, said the party was deeply saddened by the deaths.
“It is especially saddening when young lives so full of potential are cut short in such a tragic manner. We send our sincere condolences to the extended families of these young people and to the surrounding community.
“We also extend our best wishes for a speedy recovery to those who have been hospitalised,” he said.
The Lakehave centre, which has been in existence since 1958, is a project of Child Welfare Durban and District.
It caters to the needs of 60 children between the ages of 6 and 18 years who are abused, neglected and abandoned. All the children are placed at the centre through a court order.
Division commander of the Northern Region fire stations, Jay Kanniappen, said firefighters were called out to the blaze shortly after 2am this morning.
“A dormitory was gutted by the blaze. Sadly, eight people were killed. The Durban North and Ntuzuma fire stations responded to the fire. Investigations are still ongoing as to the cause of the fire,” added Kanniappen.
– Caxton News Service