A 57-year-old woman and her two grandchildren were on Wednesday night burnt to death when their Morningside home in Bulawayo was gutted by fire triggered by an electrical fault.
The fire that occurred at about 9PM, killed Prisca Mushore, the mother of 2015 Miss Tourism Bulawayo pageant winner Nadia Gori, and her grandchildren Stacey Mushore (13) and Brendon Moyo (9) who were burnt beyond recognition.
Property worth millions of dollars was reduced to ashes.
The family’s spokesperson Mr Thabani Moyo said they were at a loss for words following the tragic incident.
“None of us was here to witness what really transpired. We received a phone call from one of our nephews based in Harare telling us that there was fire in the house after being contacted by the police. We rushed here and by the time we arrived, the roof had collapsed and my sister, my nephew and my niece who lived in the house had been killed in the fire and property burnt to ashes,” said Mr Moyo.
He said the family was devastated and wondered how the fire broke out and prevented the three from escaping.
“This is a painful experience especially losing all the family members who lived in the house with no one to help them. At least if one of them survived, we would have known how the fire broke out. But as it stands it’s a painful loss because there is no story to be told,” he said.
Mr Moyo said Bulawayo Fire Brigade promptly reacted but could not save the trio.
He said the two minors were burnt beyond recognition while his sister suffered serious burns, but was still recognisable.
Mr Moyo dismissed claims circulating on social media yesterday that the fire was caused by a gas explosion.
“The Fire Brigade and the Zimbabwe Energy Regulation Authority dismissed that the fire could have been caused by fuel because there is no fuel that is kept here. But we are yet to get a report from Zesa to consolidate the findings. However, the fire was not caused by gas. The gas cylinder is still intact and it was empty. So, the gas explosion that is being speculated is dismissed,” said Mr Moyo.
A relative said bodies of the three victims were found in different parts of the house.
“The granny’s body which did not suffer serious burns was found in the bathroom while the boy was in the corridor and the girl’s body was found at the front door. Both minors were burnt beyond recognition. Police retrieved their bodies this (yesterday) morning,” said the relative.
Neighbours said they were still shocked as to how the fire spread so fast without anyone noticing. One of them said she watched helplessly as the fire consumed the house.
“At first, I could hear their voices as they screamed for help. Their voices kept fading until I could not hear them anymore. I guess they had died,” said the neighbour who declined to be named.
Bulawayo acting Chief Fire Officer Mr Linso Phiri said the fire was caused by an electric fault.
He said the inferno was compounded by dust that had gathered in the house’s ceiling.
“Our preliminary investigations have concluded that the fire was caused by an electric fault. We also believe that dust which had gathered in the ceiling over a period of time caused the fire to quickly spread across the house. The electrical wires were also naked as the house was not tubed (cables not insulated), just like many of the houses that were built a long time ago. This could have also compounded the fire,” said Mr Phiri.