$100k House gutted by fire….Family left homeless
A FAMILY from Killarney suburb in Bulawayo has been left without shelter after their house worth nearly US$100 000 was gutted by fire.
The inferno which is suspected to have been caused by an electric fault, razed the house last Thursday afternoon.
The Mupure family failed to salvage anything as property, identity documents, educational and professional certificates were reduced to ashes.
Two minors aged five and seven years who were in the company of a helper escaped unhurt.
Neighbours called the Fire Brigade which allegedly delayed attending to the fired.
When a Chronicle news crew arrived at the family’s home yesterday, residents, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube, area MP Illos Nyoni were at the house assessing the damage.
The owner of the house, Mr Edwin Mupure, said the fire is suspected to have started from the ceiling.
“We are told that the fire was caused by an electric fault. We lost everything. The house on its own was valued at about US$100 000 and we are still trying to calculate the value of the property.
We however estimate the value to be between US$15 000 and US$20 000. We lost everything including birth certificates, academic certificates, passports, nothing was recovered from the house.
It’s a difficult thing but we have to accept that it has happened and try to move on. It’s a difficult situation for the family and the neighbours who have been assisting us,” said Mr Mupure.
He said the Fire Brigade delayed responding to the distress call and what made the situation worse was that they did not have water expecting to get it from a nearby fire hydrant.
“There was no water in the suburb so they could not get the water from the fire hydrant and had to summon a third fire engine which only arrived when the flames had engulfed the whole house,” he said.
A resident Mr Nelson Moyo said they watched helplessly as fire consumed the house as it was dangerous to get in.
He said he was one of the first residents to respond to the distress call and blamed the Fire Brigade for responding late.
Mr Moyo said the Fire Brigade came nearly an hour after being contacted.
“They came here after 40 minutes, the roof had already collapsed and it was impossible to salvage any property,” he said.
Minister Judith Ncube said the situation was heartbreaking as the family lost everything. She called on well-wishers to help the family rebuild the house.
Minister Ncube said she has engaged the Provincial Development Coordinator Mr Paul Nyoni on how Government can assist the family and is expecting feedback today.
She said the situation was worsened by Bulawayo City Council’s water cuts.
“Our wish is that there should never be a point where there is no water in the city. Even when residents wanted to assist, they could not do anything due to the fact that there was no water.
So, after learning about this disaster, I came here on behalf of Government, so that we can map a way forward with Killarney residents and the family.
This is a huge loss they could not recover anything from the house. That is why I decided to come here and make a plea to Bulawayo residents because I know Bulawayo has a culture of assisting those who are in similar situations,” she said.
Minister Ncube said it was saddening that due to the inferno, the family has moved to seek refuge at their relatives which could be an inconvenience.
Bulawayo acting chief fire officer Mr Linos Phiri said they received a call from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) about the burning house after 4PM.
“We received a call from the police alerting us that there was a house burning in Killarney. We immediately rushed to the scene but it was already too late as the fire had already spread to all the rooms and some of the property reduced to ashes.
“The children were left alone in the house when they noticed that there was fire. They alerted a neighbour.
Unfortunately the neighbour did not know the emergency number and had to phone someone who was in town who called the police. The police then called us and by that time the damage had already been done,” said Mr Phiri.
He encouraged the public to take note of the emergency numbers to avoid such delays.
“I encourage members of the public to keep emergency numbers in order to be assisted on time. Like in this case the property and the house could have been saved had we been contacted on time.
I also encourage parents and guardians not to leave children alone,” said Mr Phiri.
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