Mom rises from ashes



June 15, 2016
Mom rises from ashes

RECOVERING: Gloria Abrahams, 31.

Pregnant survivor, who lost three kids in blaze, is released from hospital.

The mother who lost three children in the devastating Mitchells Plain house fire, in which eight people died, heard their desperate cries for help before she fainted.

When pregnant Gloria Abrahams, 31, woke up, it was to learn that her three kids and her boyfriend had passed away.

Gloria, who suffered burns to her right arm, was discharged from Tygerberg Hospital on Monday night.

Yesterday, she learnt that her children Tamia Swartz, 22 months old, Cameron Fredericks, six and Elmarie Fredericks, five, had perished in a fire at their home in Macbeth Street, Eastridge, on Saturday at 8am.

Her berk, Alfonso Swartz, 35, her brothers Kyle, 18, Joshua, 13, baby sister Nikita Abrahams, three, and cousin, Arafaat Madatt, 14, also died.

Lying in bed at a relative’s home, pain is etched on the five-month pregnant mother’s face.

She was one of five people who survived the flames including her father Patrick Abrahams, 54, her mother Verona, 52, sister Shanice, 22, and friends Nawaal Erasmus, 23, and Lance Minnies, 16, who is currently on life support at Tygerberg Hospital.

Gloria says Alfonso, a security guard, came home at about 7.30am, after working nightshift at Mitchells Plain Day Hospital.

She says: “I opened the door for him at 7.30am and I said he must give the back door key to my father but he put the key in our room.”

“We locked the door (to our room) and we both fell asleep, the children were also sleeping, and we woke up to people screaming.

“I got up and ran to the lounge but the flames were strong and it burnt my arm.

“I went [back] to the bed and I lay there and I could hear how my children were screaming. Then they became quiet.

“I got up from the bed and I was looking for them but the smoke was so thick. It went into my chest and I couldn’t breathe.”

She didn’t explain why she went back to bed while the house was burning.

She says Alfonso managed to break a window, while people were banging from the outside.

“Alfonso was holding the children, all of them, in his arms. Then I blacked out. I was saved after they took me out through the window,” she recalls.

Gloria also has two other children Antonio, 12, and Fanton, ten, who live in Heidelberg with their father.

Authorities have yet to reveal the cause of the blaze, believed to be caused by an electrical fault.

Tears flowed at a memorial service held for the family at Imperial Primary School in Eastridge on Saturday where the community came together to mourn and say goodbye.

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