Fuel ‘dealer’ dies in in­ferno

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Thu­peyo Mu­leya Beit­bridge Bureau

A 30-YEAR-OLD woman from Beit­bridge be­lieved to be an il­le­gal fuel dealer was on Sun­day night burnt to death when her house caught fire.

The in­ci­dent al­legedly oc­curred be­tween 7PM and 8PM and it took lo­cal fire fight­ers close to three hours to com­pletely put out the in­ferno.

Mata­bele­land South po­lice spokesper­son In­spec­tor Philisani Nde­bele con­firmed the in­ci­dent. He iden­ti­fied the de­ceased as Sitha­bile Mbedzi. “In­di­ca­tions are that she was cook­ing in the same room with 20 litres of petrol. Dur­ing the process, the house caught fire and she was trapped in­side and burnt to death.

“We are yet to es­tab­lish the real cause of the fire. When the house caught fire, some neigh­bours tried to put it out with water and called in lo­cal fire fight­ers, but it was un­for­tu­nate she was trapped and burnt to death,” Insp Nde­bele said.

He said peo­ple should de­sist from il­le­gally deal­ing in fuel or keep­ing fuel in their houses.

“Mem­bers of the public should de­sist from such prac­tices which are very harm­ful to them­selves and so­ci­ety,” Insp Nde­bele said.

Beit­bridge town sec­re­tary, Mr Loud Ra­mak­gap­ola, de­scribed the in­ci­dent as sad and un­for­tu­nate.

“We re­gret the death of a young lady, but we are wor­ried about the cause, which is fuel be­ing kept in a house. We want to urge mem­bers of the com­mu­nity and ve­hi­cle own­ers to make use of ser­vice sta­tions. It is sad to con­tinue to lose lives and prop­erty in this town due to fuel be­ing stored in houses.

“This can­not be al­lowed to con­tinue con­sid­er­ing that we don’t have fuel short­ages in the coun­try,” he said.

Mr Ra­mak­gap­ola said the lo­cal au­thor­ity was work­ing with other stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing the po­lice, the En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity and the Zim­babwe En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity to put to an end to the sale of fuel from il­le­gal points in­clud­ing houses.

A few months ago, two peo­ple in the bor­der town were burnt to death in a sim­i­lar way at a house in Lim­popo view sub­urb.

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