A 55-year-old woman died together with her two grandchildren aged 14 and 9 years when their house in Morningside suburb, Bulawayo was gutted down by fire around 9 pm on Wednesday.
The deceased have been identified as Prisca Mushore (55), Stacey Mushore (14), and Brandon Moyo (9).
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident.
“Yes I can confirm the incident, police attended the scene and three people died on the spot, a woman aged between 47 to 57 years old, a girl aged 14 and a boy aged between 8 and 9 years old. The cause of the fire is still yet not known and investigations are still ongoing,” said Inspector Ncube.
Bulawayo Acting Chief Fire Officer, Linos Phiri said they arrived at the scene, the whole house had been consumed by fire and the roof of the house had already collapsed.
“On arrival at the scene of fire at about 21:14 hours, the brigade found the entire house well alight with the roof already collapsed,” said Phiri.
“Flames were coming out from an open roof which had already curved in due to the intensity of the fire. The neighbours were watching helplessly as the gate was locked.”
When a CITE news crew visited the house on Thursday morning, distraught relatives and neighbours were trying to come to terms with the tragic incident.
“I received a call that my sister’s house had caught fire, I, however, wondered why she was not the one calling me instead of the neighbours, only to come here and find out that they had died,” said Thabani Moyo, a brother to the deceased woman.
“We are still waiting for the authorities to give us the details on what could have caused the fire.”
A neighbour, Sharlene Waldman said they failed to assist in putting out the fire as the gate was locked and they could not scale the perimeter wall.
“When I passed by her house in the evening lights were on, everything was normal, I started hearing explosions and I came out and started throwing stones on people’s roof alerting them since some had gone to sleep while others were watching television,” she said.
Waldman, in unison with other neighbours at the scene, however, expressed dismay at how the emergency services responded to the distress call.
“The fire brigade came 45 minutes later when the roof had already collapsed with no water, no masks or gumboots, they even started asking for our phones to use as torch lights and search for water hydrants,” she claimed.