Nkanyiso Xaba has been hailed a hero by South Africa for saving the lives of hospital patients trapped in their beds during a raging fire.
KwaMaphumulo, KwaZulu-Natal – Nkanyiso Xaba has been hailed a hero after a fire engulfed the hospital where he works. He ran into the building and pulled bedridden patients out, carrying them through the building and out to safety.
He did this over and over until he collapsed from smoke inhalation. Xaba is employed by a private security company and put his own life on the line to save as many lives as he could. He even went as far as to burst through a window to save a nurse and patient trapped in a smoke chocked room.
The fire was allegedly started by a psychiatric patient and it got out of control. Doctors, nurses and hospital personnel rushed to get people out to safety. They were also scrambling to contain the fire in the chaos. In an interview with News24, Xaba confirmed how he went about getting people out of the hospital.
“I noticed that the fire was spreading from the seclusion ward to the male general and TB wards. What became uppermost in my mind was the fact that there were patients on hospital beds who couldn’t walk on their own, so I had to pull them out. I told those who could walk on their own to go outside because the ward was on fire.”
Xaba said everything happened so fast and he doesn’t know how many people he actually saved. When he went back in to get the last patient he started facing his own problems.
“I pulled out the bed with the patient, but when I got out there was just too much smoke. My nose was blocked, and I couldn’t breathe through my mouth. That’s when I collapsed,”
He was immediately transferred to the casualty ward and later taken to a different hospital for further treatment. It took him a few days to get back to normal as the smoke left him dazed and confused. He still has a cough but mostly he is doing very well.
Xaba’s biggest dream is to become a police officer which is what got him into the security industry in the first place. He is very proud of his actions and says he would do it all again if needed.
“I think I displayed courage. I’m proud of what I did. I would not hesitate to do it again to save lives. If it was another person, I don’t know if they would have done it.”
The psychiatric patient has been moved to a new facility for care and all staff are receiving counselling after the ordeal. Nkanyiso Xaba was commended by KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo for his actions.
“What this young man has done is unbelievable… Literally putting his life on the line like that to save lives! He helped us avoid a disaster. That is heroism. Our honourable President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa always encourages the spirit of #ThumaMina, to say that we should take the initiative… put our country first, and do things that will benefit others.
“What Xaba did on Tuesday is the embodiment of exactly that. We are extremely proud of him, as well as everybody else who helped out during this emergency.”
Xaba is a hero to all and we are so proud of his determination to save every life he could.