Elderly man dies in frail care centre fire

An elderly man died on Friday morning when a fire gutted the second floor of a Port Elizabeth frail care centre.

Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said David Oberholzer‚ 73‚ was one of 15 residents at the Executive Frail Care Centre in Colin Street.

The other 14 residents‚ most of who use wheelchairs and walking aids‚ were safely evacuated.

Naidu said the fire started at about 8am‚ when the 14 residents were in the dining hall downstairs having breakfast.

“One of the caregivers went to an upstairs room where the deceased was later found. Because he is an amputee‚ he usually gets meals brought to his room. While the caregiver was walking in the passage‚ she noted a cloud of thick smoke‚” she said.

“The alarm was raised and all 14 occupants in the dining room were evacuated. Attempts to get to the deceased failed.”

Naidu said the fire department had extinguished the blaze by 9am.

“At this stage the cause of the fire remains unknown. Fire department specialists are on the scene and we are awaiting a report from them to establish the exact cause of the fire‚” she said.

An inquest docket has been opened. – The Herald

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