A bakery at Solusi University on the outskirts of Bulawayo has been razed by a fire that destroyed property worth $25 000. Bulawayo Fire Brigade senior divisional officer, Mr Edward Mpofu, confirmed the incident which was reported on Monday at around 3PM.

He said the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.

The fire officer said those at the scene took time trying to put out the fire using portable fire extinguishers, resulting in the fire gutting the entire bakery.

“We received a report of a fire that occurred at Solusi University yesterday (Monday). We are still investigating to find the cause of the fire but the main switch of the oven was on. All other switches had been turned off by the time the brigade arrived.

“All baking trays and frying pans were damaged by the fire and the ceiling had collapsed at the time of the arrival of the brigade. Meanwhile, investigations are underway,” he said.

Since January, the Bulawayo Fire Brigade has been holding fire awareness campaigns around the city of Bulawayo and its surrounding areas.

Mr Mpofu said: “This is part of our efforts to reduce incidents of fires and minimise related losses because a number of small fires that broke out in buildings resulted in massive damage due to lack of knowledge from members of the public.

“In cases of fire outbreaks in buildings, the fire brigade may delay to arrive; these campaigns therefore inform the community on what they can be doing to reduce the damage by the fire.”

The fire officer warned members of the public to keep matches and cigarette lighters well away from the reach of children.

“Lit candles must be placed well away from combustible materials and electrical appliances must always be switched off and unplugged when not in use or if retiring for the night or leaving the house. People should also never be tempted to smoke in bed.

“Being winter, we advise people never to place heaters near any combustible materials such as curtains, bedding, books and never to be tempted to leave them on while retiring to bed,” he said.

Mr Mpofu advised members of the public to quickly raise alarm to alert others of the emergency in case a fire breaks out.