WATCH | 'Fighting fires was not a job but a true calling for my brother'
When Israel Muedi heard that a firefighter had died in this week's tower blaze in Johannesburg, he prayed that it would not be his brother Khathutshelo.
"I knew Khathutshelo was on duty at the time and tried to call him to check if he was OK, but he didn't answer."
He heard that other firefighters were trapped in the Bank of Lisbon building in the city centre. He prayed that his brother would not be among them as he rushed from Pretoria to Johannesburg.
When he arrived at the scene, he started to prepare himself for the worst.
"With every minute that passed, I got more worried. When I did not see him with the other firefighters, I just knew."
Khathutshelo, 37, died in the fire along with fellow firefighters Mduduzi Ndlovu, 40, and Simphiwe Moropane, 28.
Khathutshelo leaves his wife, Fhumulani, 36, and two children aged two years and three weeks. He would have celebrated his 38th birthday on September 28.
"He was a very brave person. He was very passionate about his job and not afraid of anything," Israel said.
Israel said his brother had always wanted to be a firefighter. "For him this was not a job but a true calling." Khathutshelo joined the service in 2003.
Relatives, some from Venda, gathered at Khathutshelo's home in Lotus Gardens, west of Pretoria, on Friday afternoon.
"This is really a difficult time for us as a family. No-one can ever be prepared for such a tragedy," said Israel.
The women sat quietly inside the house, while outside, as it began to drizzle, the men put up a tent.
Israel said that what comforted them as a family was that his brother had died doing what he loved - serving others...