Magistrate killed in house fire

A 56-year-old magistrate burnt to death in her Vereeniging home after she was trapped by her burglar bars.

Annatjie Pretorius initially called for help over the emergency channel of the local community policing forum (CPF) radio in the early hours of yesterday morning, Beeld reported.

Her neighbours and friends rushed to her aid and tried to douse the flames with a hose before the fire brigade arrived on the scene, but their efforts were in vain, the paper reported.

Pretorius’s neighbour, Graham Swanepoel, said the flames were so high no one could enter the house.

“The firemen probably hammered for about five minutes with a big hammer against the master bedroom’s burglar bars to try and break them.”

According to the local fire chief, Hannes Steyn, a preliminary investigation indicated there was a power problem in the house and the fire was caused by a short circuit.

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