$3 mil­lion prop­erty goes up in smoke

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili

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

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