Wednesday 5 October 2022


FOUR families in Bulawayo were last night left stranded after a block of flats in the city centre caught fire.

The fire, which erupted at Ringwood Flats located at corner Second Avenue and George Silundika Street, is suspected to have started at around 4PM.

Two weeks ago, another fire hit the city centre area when a fuel tanker caught fire during decanting while another flat at Ascot caught fire last month.

The entire third floor of the flat was reduced to ashes and tenants were left counting losses.

Bulawayo acting chief fire officer Mr Lynos Phiri said they delayed arriving at the scene as they were attending three other fire calls in Matsheumhlope suburb and Umguza.

When Chronicle arrived at the scene, people were standing helplessly as the fire spread.

Some tenants were screaming as they watched their property being consumed by the raging fire.

One of the tenants Mr Trymore Mangwiro, said he received a call from his sister while he was at work.

“We lost everything in the inferno as we could not salvage anything. My sister called the fire brigade but they delayed coming and as such they could not salvage anything,” he said.

Mr Mangwiro said he heard that the fire started in a room where there were only children whose parents were at work. “It is unclear what exactly transpired there,” he said.

A neighbour, Mrs Nomalanga Dube, said they only saw a thick cloud of smoke coming out of the flat.

She said power was switched off and people were shouting for help.

“We had to rush with our children as we were afraid that our flat would also catch fire. The first fire tender arrived without water but they quickly connected to the nearby fire hydrant before two other fire tenders arrived,” said Mrs Dube.

Mr Phiri said they were still conducting investigations to establish the cause of the fire.

“At the moment we are not sure whether there are any injuries but our crew is still inside checking. We were overwhelmed with fire calls today which affected our response time,” he said.

Mr Phiri said when the call came, they were on the ground attending to other fires hence the delay.

“We will release a full report tomorrow (today) once we are done with our investigations,” he said.

Writing on his Facebook page last night, Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni urged residents to take insurance against fires. He also expressed concern over dilapidated buildings in the city centre.

“It is high time property owners take compulsory fire insurance to cover risks such as these. We commiserate with residents who have lost their valuables in this inferno. Our city buildings are now old and dilapidated and as such are now prone to fire outbreaks,” wrote Clr Mguni.

He said there was a need to tighten buildings inspection by-laws to the extent of even closing down some of the non-compliant buildings. Chronicle


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