Millions in damage as fire destroys house
By Nelias Shiri and Judge Jarachara
A BULAWAYO family will have a bleak Christmas after a fire destroyed their house in Paddonhurst suburb yesterday.
The fire that caused damage running into millions of dollars is suspected to have been caused by an electrical fault.
Neighbours said that there was a loud explosion just before the house burst into flames. Ms Tendai Munofa (24) who was sleeping in the house woke up to billowing smoke at around 9am.
She said at first, she tried to ignore the smell of something burning because she thought it was coming from a neighbouring house.
As the smell grew stronger, she realised that it was coming from her landlord’s bedroom which she tried to open but failed since it was locked.
“thick smoke was coming from the landlord’s room. I tried to open his door to no avail. I realised at that moment there were flames coming from under the door. I started picking things from my room and throwing them outside through the window,” said Ms Munofa.
She said she had to abandon her frantic efforts when she saw the ceiling bursting into an orange ball of flames.
“I only managed to get a few things out and most of my stuff including certificates got burnt in the house. When my landlord came it was too late for us to put the fire out,” said Ms Munofa.
Neighbours, she said, helped her to call the Fire Brigade.
A Chronicle news crew observed the Fire Brigade team scrambling to put out the inferno that was threatening to spread to the next property in the semi-detached houses.
Six teams, each with high pressure pipes directed jets of water at flames at different corners of the house.
Neighbours gathered around and watched in apparent horror as the fire consumed the house. Some scurried to help push out two vehicles that were parked in the yard.
The well-coordinated fire team put the fire out in about 30 minutes.
Mr Naison Haruzivishe, the owner of the house said he received a call from Ms Munofa informing him that the house was on fire as he was attending to personal business in the city centre.
Mr Nelson Haruzivishe salvages groceries and other property
He could not hold back his grief as he narrated his loss.
“I have lost all I had worked for. All my property is gone. It was worth about $5 million. I don’t know where I shall sleep,” he said.
A neighbour who spoke to Chronicle on condition of anonymity said:
“I heard a sound like a bomb coming from my neighbour’s house. When I checked I discovered that the house was totally covered in smoke.”
Acting Chief Fire Officer for Bulawayo Mr Jabulani Ndlovu said investigations into the cause of the fire were underway.
“We are still investigating but preliminary results point to electrical faults. The value of the destroyed property is not yet known but it would run into millions of dollars since the whole roof, ceiling, paint work, inbuilt wardrobes would need replacement, said Mr Ndlovu.
“This was a bad Christmas eve for the Paddonhurst family and we would like to warn the public to be vigilant concerning electrical faults and engage competent electricians to attend to them.
“We request the public to keep the emergency numbers- 993 and 994 or (2922) 71717-9- in their cellphones because driving to the nearest station is time consuming and it causes serious delays in our intervention,” added Mr Ndlovu.
Following the tragic incident, Ms Munofa appealed to members of the public for assistance since all her clothes and food were destroyed by the fire. The Chronicle