By Whinsley Masara
PROPERTY worth more than $50 000 was reduced to ashes when a four-roomed thatched cottage caught fire after sparks from Zesa overhead cables ignited its roof in Bulawayo’s Harrisvale suburb.
Bulawayo chief fire Officer Mr Richard Peterson said when the brigade arrived at the scene, the roof had already collapsed.
The fire occurred at around 10AM on Sunday.
He said the fire fighters managed to put out the fire which was already spreading to the main house.
“When the fire fighters arrived at the scene, they found the entire four- roomed outbuilding engulfed with smoke, roof already collapsed and household contents still burning.
“A garden hose-pipe and buckets of water lay next to the house, indicating that the tenants had attempted to deal with the fire at its early stages before calling the brigade,” said Mr Peterson.
“No injuries were recorded but $50 000 worth of property was lost while only that worth about $10 000 was saved.”
Mr Peterson said they suspected that sparks from Zesa overhead cables ignited the thatched roof and caused the fire.
He warned members of the community to report any electrical faults before they cause damage and to be more careful especially with electrical appliances to avoid fire outbreaks.
“We warn the public to always cross-check electrical appliances’ functionality and to always switch them off when not in use to avoid the continuous loss of property and lives,” Mr Peterson said.
In the past two weeks, the brigade has attended to more than 40 fires within and around Bulawayo.
Mr Peterson said: “ Between 27 August to September 11 this year, we have attended to 16 fires which involved buildings, 35 veld fires, while two were on vehicles, one tree fire and one that emanated from a rubbish fire.”
On Monday, 34 pupils escaped death after a 10-roomed dormitory at the Salvation Army church-run Usher High School caught fire in the early hours, leaving a trail of destruction.
Last week, 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 the affluent Selbourne Brooke suburb.
During that same week, property worth over $10 000 burnt down after a five-roomed house in Lobengula West suburb caught fire due to an overloaded electrical power circuit. The Chronicle.