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4 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, Tanya.

Daniels said that when he woke up the electricity went off and the fire made the area sound like it was raining.

"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," Daniels said.

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 minor injuries.

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 cracked.

"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 30 years".

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 in drugs.

Cape Town hotel fire: 2 die
31/01/2007 09:20 - (SA)

Cops save 17 in shack fire
Five kids burn to death

Johannesburg - Two people died in a fire which burned down the old Woodstock Hotel in Cape Town on Wednesday, the city's fire services said.

A spokesperson from the Cape Town fire control centre said the cause of the fire, which started around 02:30 on Wednesday, was not known.

The man and child who perished in the blaze could have suffered from smoke inhalation.

Three people suffered minor injuries and 10 others escaped unharmed.

The fire had been put out by 07:00 but rescue workers remained on the scene clearing the rubble to ensure that there were no bodies buried underneath.

The cause of the fire would be investigated, the spokesperson said


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