By Victor Maphosa
Some residents of Chirundu Court in Belvedere, which is owned by Harare City Council, lost all their property in a fire that was ignited by a gas tank explosion in one of the apartments yesterday morning.
The owner of the apartment, in which the fire started sustained serious burns and was taken to hospital.
The fire destroyed the entire second floor of the two-storey building.
When The Herald arrived at the scene, some residents were standing outside the building, while officers from the fire brigade were going about their work.
One of residents said the situation could have been saved had emergency services responded in time.
“The response from the emergency service was not so good,” said the resident who requested anonymity.
“I lost everything, I tried to go in when the fire started but it was too late. Everything in my apartment was destroyed.”
Mr Joshua Juru, who had visited his brother at the building also narrated to The Herald how it all started.
“I had come here to visit my brother who stays in the building. As soon as I parked my vehicle, I heard a loud explosion from inside the building. I rushed to the front and there were two ladies who were screaming from the second floor.
“Another woman who was on the balcony was also screaming and I asked her to jump since I was ready to break her fall, but she was scared.
“She told me there were two ladies trapped in another apartment and I then rushed up the stairs, broke the door and managed to assist both women.
“There were two vehicles which were parked outside and we had to break their windows to push them to safety. However, my brother’s property was burnt to ashes.”
Assistant Divisional Officer Fire Brigade Mr Phillip Marufu said they responded in time, but the roof had already collapsed.
“It took about four minutes for us to get here and when we arrived the fire was spreading in two directions.
“We heard it started from a gas tank explosion.
“When we arrived, the whole roof was ablaze and we started fighting the fire from one end.
“When the other fire tenders arrived, we then started fighting on the other side, but the roof had already collapsed. I am told there is one woman who was injured when the fire started and was taken to hospital.” The Herald.