Fuel ‘dealer’ dies in inferno
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.