die as fire guts old Woodstock hotel
Two bodies recovered, but rescue services still on
scene in bid to retrieve two more
January 31, 2007 Edition 1
Leila Samodien and Genevieve Van Velzen
Two bodies were recovered and two were still inside
the Woodstock Bar - formerly the Woodstock Hotel -
after the building went up in flames early today.
Woodstock residents and fire survivors gathered this
morning as rescue services attempted to retrieve the
two bodies still in the building, one which is believed
to be that of a baby.
At 7.30am the fire was put out but the building was
left charred and unusable.
Thirteen people had managed to make it out alive,
police on the scene confirmed.
Adiel Daniels, who has been living in the building
for four years, was inside when the fire started.
He said he had been sleeping when the smell of smoke
woke him. Daniels was related to two of the victims
whose bodies were recovered earlier this morning.
He identified the one victim as his brother, Mervin
Daniels, and the other victim as his sister-in-law,
Daniels said that when he woke up the electricity
went off and the fire made the area sound like it
"People were falling over each other to get
out. I was one of the first people out of the door
and I heard them (his relatives) screaming 'Help!
Help!' but there was nothing I could do for them,"
He said he thought they had fainted because they
could not breath as well as he could.
He said that when he finally got outside, he saw
people jumping from the second floor of the building
to escape the flames.
Police had told him that the bodies of his relatives
were not burnt but they had died from smoke inhalation.
A senior fireman on the scene confirmed that two
bodies were still trapped inside the building.
Fire Rescue Service officials confirmed two deaths
and said there had been three people who escaped with
The fire started at about 2am this morning, but the
cause is unknown.
A resident, who has lived in Woodstock for 42 years,
said he lives opposite the building and that the heat
had been so severe, that the windows of his home had
"The smoke was coming through our windows, that
is how bad it was," he said.
He believed the fire was electrical because "the
building owners haven't had electricians here for
The hotel is reportedly a known drug den, but the
resident refuted this, saying that while there were
drug dens nearby, he did not know the place to deal