The Chron­i­cle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

BU­L­AWAYO, Tues­day, Septem­ber 20, 1966 — First peo­ple to re­alise the Sel­borne Ho­tel, Bu­l­awayo, was on fire late on Sun­day af­ter­noon, were the po­lice on duty at the cen­tral charge of­fice. They smelt it. Two con­sta­bles hur­ried across to in­ves­ti­gate.

About the same mo­ment, ev­ery tele­phone in the ho­tel started ring­ing, and the re­cep­tion­ist sent an­other em­ployee up­stairs to in­ves­ti­gate. Mrs King, wife of the pro­pri­etor, said yes­ter­day that the prob­a­ble cause was a spark from the boiler fur­nace fly­ing be­tween the ceil­ing and the cor­ru­gated roof­ing of the ho­tel. The fire bri­gade was mag­nif­i­cent, she said.

“They got the blaze un­der con­trol within an hour — though it was about two hours be­fore they were sat­is­fied it was all out”.

Six bed­rooms, all with bath­rooms, are out of com­mis­sion as a re­sult of the fire. Two-bed­room bath­room suites were burnt out — ceil­ings, floors, baths, basins and fur­ni­ture de­stroyed. One-bed­room bath­room was slightly dam­aged. Three oth­ers are in­ac­ces­si­ble as the pas­sage lead­ing to them was de­stroyed. But none of these rooms was oc­cu­pied. “In that we were very for­tu­nate”, Mrs King said.

“There might have been a tragedy”. No assess­ment has yet been made of the dam­age. Mrs King said the po­lice cleared the ho­tel of res­i­dents and staff, and sent them across the road while the fire­fight­ers were at work. It was bit­terly cold out­side, so she put some of the res­i­dents, in­clud­ing the au­thor and the poet, Mrs Greta Bloomhill, into cars and packed them with blan­kets.

Mrs Bloomhill,(71) and in fail­ing health said yes­ter­day she was “not a bit scared”.

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