By Whinsley Masara
TWO people were injured while property worth more than $50 000 was reduced to ashes after a 13-roomed double storey house was gutted by fire in Bulawayo’s affluent Selbourne Brooke suburb.
A big refrigerator filled with chicken, which was in the garage, is suspected to have developed an electrical fault that caused the fire. The incident occurred at around 7PM on Saturday.
The fire was confined to the garage and three other rooms which were all severely damaged.
Bulawayo chief fire Officer Mr Richard Peterson said when the brigade arrived at the scene, the roofs in the affected rooms had already collapsed.
“It was noted that the fire originated from the garage and spread to other parts of the building primarily through radiation. The fire involved three rooms and a garage on the ground floor and was well alight upon arrival of the brigade.
“In the garage were two by 9kg gas cylinders that were alleged to have been empty before the fire occurred. There were also wooden panels, a variety of building materials; a big refrigerator full of chickens was ‘on’ in the garage. This same refrigerator was suspected to have developed an electrical fault,” he said.
Mr Peterson said two people who were injured were taken to United Bulawayo Hospitals where they received treatment. He warned people to always cross-check electrical appliances’ functionality and remember to always switch them off when not in use to avoid the continuous loss of property and lives.
When The Chronicle visited the home, a woman (not immediately identified), was hostile and said nothing had happened. This newspaper however, observed part of the severely destroyed house and men who were busy cleaning up the burnt rooms. There was loads of rubble that was being cleared from the destroyed house.
Neighbours identified the injured persons as a domestic worker, Mr Isaac Mleya (36), who sustained back burns and a minor, Melissa Mleya (6), who sustained burns on the left arm.
Meanwhile, three children from Tsholotsho who died in an inferno on Saturday night were buried on Monday.
The siblings, Lindiwe Tshuma (10), Charmer Tshuma (8) and Prosperous Tshuma (6) of Nkunzi Village, about 50 kilometres from Tsholotsho Centre, were burnt beyond recognition while four others were saved by their 12-year-old sibling after a fire gutted a room they were sleeping in while their parents attended a funeral wake. .The Chronicle,