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Dad heartbroken after baby killed in shack fire

Simphiwe Chauke was killed when the blaze rapidly spread from home to home on Saturday.

Residents of Alexandra try to salvage what's left of their belongings, after a fire that left at least 120 families homeless and killed a 16-month-old baby boy. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The uncle of a 16-month-old who was killed in a shack fire in Alexandra says that the baby's father isn’t coping and he’s heartbroken about not being able to save his little boy.

Simphiwe Chauke was killed when the blaze rapidly spread from home to home on Saturday.

His parents and four-year-old brother survived.

Around 120 shacks were gutted in the tragedy.

Domingos Manyisa says his sleep was interrupted by the loud screams of his nephews from a shack nearby, but the fire was already spreading rapidly when he tried to get out.

Manyisa says he had to physically break a wall to get out of his shack and rushed to try and help his family, but it was too late.

“I narrowly escaped the fire. I got out and showed firefighters where my nephew was. I am going to miss him.”
He says he had to identify his nephew.

The security guard says Chauke's father has not been able to sleep since.

Preliminary investigations suggest the fire was caused by an electric stove in the Chauke home.