Nqobile Tshili/ Oliver Kazunga, Chronicle Reporters
A PENSIONER’s house valued at about $150 000 in Bulawayo’s Sunninghill suburb was reduced to ashes after it was gutted by fire on Monday and its owner is appealing for help to rebuild it.
Mr Samson Makhanda (72) said he was with his wife aged 70 when the fire started. He said he lost everything in the fire which started in his bedroom.
Mr Makhanda said he was disappointed that the Fire Brigade arrived late to save his property.
“We are still not sure what caused the fire but it started in my bedroom. What however disappoints us is the delays by the fire brigade who took about one hour 30 minutes to attend to the scene. And by the time they got here everything had been burnt down,” he said.
“A neighbour had to drive to their station in Famona and come with them. The excuse they told us is that they got lost as they were told that the fire occurred at a house along Old Esigodini Road.”
Mr Makhanda said property worth more than $150 000 was lost in the fire.“I’m appealing to the public to assist me rebuild my home. I’m a pensioner and I thought I was done. But now I’m left with nothing,” he said.
The area’s councillor, Silas Chigora, said council would investigate allegations that the fire department delayed to attend to the scene.
“The Fire brigade is supposed to take at most 10 minutes to attend to this area from Famona. The furthest areas in Bulawayo are Cowdray Park and Waterford which they are supposed to reach within about 30 minutes,” said Clr Chigora.
Bulawayo acting Chief Fire Officer Mr Linos Phiri admitted that the fire department delayed attending to the scene because they were given a wrong address by the person who called to notify them of the fire.
He said they were told that a house along Old Esigodini Road was on fire, when the exact location was along Gwanda road.
“So our engines rushed to Old Esigodini and after 30 minutes someone called us enquiring about our whereabouts. We explained to them that our teams were already on the way. That is when we got an explanation that the fire was at a house along Gwanda Road. It’s unfortunate that during this period the fire was also burning down the house,” Mr Phiri said.
Meanwhile, a fire that broke out at a garage in Kelvin Industrial Site in Bulawayo on Saturday destroyed property worth $200 000.
The Fire Brigade said the fire was sparked by a mechanical fault that developed on one of the vehicles at the filling station.
Mr Phiri said there were no fatalities recorded due to the incident.