$3 million property goes up in smoke
PROPERTY worth an estimated $3 million was destroyed by fire in Bulawayo in a year, an increase of more than 100 percent compared to the previous period.
Bulawayo Chief Fire Officer Mr Richard Petersen said although property lost to fire increased during the period August 2015 to August 2016, the city recorded a decrease in fire incidents under the same period.
“The estimated value of damaged property during the period 1st August 2015 to 31st August 2016 stands at $3 079 580 when compared to $1 456 710 in the same period between 2014 and 2015. This is an increase of $1 622 870, representing 111 percent. The figure signifies that between 1st August 2015 and 31st August 2016, the Emergency Services responded to high-value properties as opposed to properties attended to between 1st August 2014 and 31st August 2015,” said Mr Petersen.
He said in the period August 2015 to August 2016, the city recorded eight fire-related deaths compared to one in the previous period under review. Injuries due to fire incidents increased to 25 from six in the previous year under review. Mr Petersen said the fire department is continuing with fire prevention campaigns targeting schools, churches, among other social gathering places.
He said most fires were caused by people using alternative energies like gas while children playing with matches were a contributory factor.
“A sizeable number of us have engaged in floor polishmaking in homes using flammable liquids such as paraffin and other toxic substances. Domestic violence has also contributed significantly to the destruction of life and property in Bulawayo,” Mr Petersen said.
He said negligence due to residents leaving electrical appliances plugged was also a cause for concern and urged people to report any emergences so that the city’s fire department can attend in time.
Mr Petersen said residents should be on alert in the coming rainy season due to the risk of flooding.
Already some residential homes have been affected by strong winds that blew roof tops in the city. — @nqotshili