A family in Lobengula West lost all their property and slept in the cold after their house was razed down by a fire Tuesday evening.
The fire, caused by a candle, burnt down their nine roomed house, following electricity power outages, which last between 15 to 18 hours everyday.
Two children had been using the candle in their bedroom while doing their homework but are not really sure as to what happened exactly.
“Everything happened so fast, we don’t know what happened,” narrated one of the shocked children doing Form One at Eveline High.
The family managed to salvage only a few items from one of the bedrooms situated at the far end of the house before the fire spread there as well.
A visibly traumatised Juliat Kabungaidze, who is the children’s mother, told CITE the fire started shortly after 9pm when they had retired for bed.
“Me and my husband had already gone to our bedroom while our two children were in their room. Before we sleep, we make sure we secure the children’s room but after 9pm we heard screams and loud knock from the children’s bedroom. When we rushed out to check, we saw flames by the windows,” she said.
The fire grew out of control and spread so fast, narrated a sobbing Kabungaidze.
Their 13-year-old girl who was in the bedroom suspects
the candle must have slipped onto a nearby washing basket, which then caught
Kabungaidze said they could not recover anything as the fire was swift.
“Neighbours came to help us extinguish the fire but it was to no avail. We called the fire brigade but it came late and without water. A second fire truck came later but the damage had already been done.”
The weeping Kabungaidze said among their property, she lost two sewing machines, which she relied on as she was a dressmaker.
“I am a tailor and my husband is unemployed. Sewing was our source of income but now both my machines are gone. The dress orders I was working on are also gone. I do not know how we will survive,” she said as she wept uncontrollably.
The husband was too traumatised to even talk to the press. Kabungaidze appealed to well-wishers to help them with uniforms and stationery so their children can attend school.
“My first born is in Form 1 at Eveline high School, the other one, a boy, is in Grade Six at McCurtain Primary School. All their uniforms, books, shoes and satchel were destroyed in the fire. We do not have money to buy new ones. My number is 0774 919 299 which is also listed for Ecocash.”
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) on its micro blogging Twitter account however said the family reported the fire late but the fire brigade was at the scene on time.
“The report was made late as the sitting room roof was already collapsing at the time of arrival and this was a nine roomed house, which was already well lit at the time of arrival. The time of call for the fire was 21:42 and arrival time of the first fire tender was 21:52 with 1700 litres of water. Another water tender arrived at 21:58 from Famona.”
The city council said the lounge had already been severely damaged by the fire although the rest of the house was saved.
BCC said the fire teams extinguished the fire and the water carrier still had water when they went back to the fire station.