Police probe another Western Cape nursing home after blaze kills elderly resident

A Droom Riversdale home resident was killed in a fire.

A Droom Riversdale home resident was killed in a fire.

  • A fire broke out at a nursing home in Riversdale on Friday morning. 
  • An 81-year-old resident died as a result of possible smoke inhalation. 
  • It’s the latest nursing home incident following news of an elderly woman who was allegedly left out in the cold by staff at a nursing home in Ceres. 

A fire broke out in the early hours of Friday morning at a nursing home in Riversdale in the Western Cape, leaving an 81-year-old male resident dead.

The Droom Riversdale home confirmed that a fire broke out at the home’s Huis Ou Meule section, where debilitated residents are cared for.

Southern Cape Police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie said police opened an inquest docket for further investigation following the man’s death.

“Preliminary investigation reveals that members were dispatched to the Ou Meule Home situated in Kerk Street at about 01:00 on Friday. The local fire brigade and emergency services also responded rapidly and evacuated 66 of the residents, of which three were taken to hospital via ambulance to be treated for smoke inhalation,” he said.

READ | Probe launched, Ceres old age home in talks with family of resident found dead after being left outside

Pojie said the deceased, who was one of the three residents taken to hospital, died possibly due to smoke inhalation.

He said:

An autopsy is still to be done to determine the exact cause of death. No foul play is suspected. However, the cause of the fire forms part of the comprehensive investigation into the incident.

The management of the Droom home said in a statement that the home consists of two units, namely Huis Ou Meule and Huis Jan Lange, where a total of 101 elderly residents are cared for.

The home manager, Chris Veldsman, said residents were comfortably furnished in the hall and that they are busy arranging for meals to be prepared for them at the local school.

“The Governing Board of the home is meeting today [Friday] to discuss further steps for the safety and care of the residents,” he said.

Veldsman said the home would contact the families of affected residents as soon as possible and expected that some will be collected. Western Cape Social Development Department spokesperson Joshua Covenant Chigome said they are aware of the incident.

READ | Patient dies after bed catches fire at Bloemfontein hospital

“We can confirm the death of one individual at the old age home. The department is investigating the matter and providing support where necessary,” he said.

This is the latest incident, following news this week of an elderly woman who was allegedly left out in the cold by nurses at a nursing home in Ceres.

Staff at the Huis Maudie Kriel nursing home apparently took the elderly woman outside in her wheelchair to have a cigarette, but allegedly forgot about her. Her body was discovered the next morning.