TENDAI BHEBE IN BULAWAYO
At least 16 properties worth about ZWL$53.3m were destroyed by fire in Bulawayo in two months, Business Times can report.
Bulawayo City Council’s acting senior divisional officer for fire prevention and administration of Fire Brigade, Jabulani Ndlovu, said the local authority battled with an increase in properties destroyed by fire in May and June.
“For May, the value of properties estimated to be under risk were estimated to be ZWL$341.986m and property lost was ZWL$172 220. We had six property fires and we had 34 bush fires. For June, properties estimated to be under risk was ZWL$3.6bn then the properties lost were valued at ZWL$53.3m. We had 10 property fires and 45 bush or veld fires,” Ndlovu told Business Times.
He said there were several contributing factors to the crisis, including faulty electrical appliances and overloading of electrical circuits.
“Major contributors of the fire were discarded material that could be a cigarette, or anything that is thrown maybe in the bush and it starts bushfires or rubbish fires, children playing with matches, faulty electrical appliances and over loading of electrical circuits were the major contributory factors in the reported fires in the city. We had two unknown fire causes,” Ndlovu said.
He added: “Most of the domestic fires we attended to were caused by children playing with fire. Children are given access to matches but our message has always been clear that candles and matches must be placed out of the reach of children.”
“Residents must avoid overloading electrical circuits. Overloading of electrical circuits sparks electrical fires, damaging property.”
Ndlovu said the Fire Brigade has intensified fire awareness campaigns targeting schools, orphanages, old people’s homes, industrial sites as well as residential homes.
He said: “We are urging our residents to take care of their cigarette stuff and avoid throwing material because a lot of bushes are dry and grass is dry and a lot of vegetation was experience this year because of good rains so we are likely to lose all this pasture through fires so we are encouraging people even if it’s to clear the ground it’s better to bury whatever they have cut and maybe create compost it will work for them to get manure.”
The veld fire season officially in the country starts on July 31 and ends around October.