$800 000 Min­istry prop­erty gut­ted by fire

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nyaradzo Bakari Chron­i­cle Reporter

THE Min­istry of Trans­port and In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment lost prop­erty worth about $800 000, with an em­ployee los­ing over $1 300 in per­sonal funds left in the of­fice when the Min­istry’s build­ing along Khami road in Bulawayo was gut­ted by fire.

Bulawayo act­ing chief fire of­fi­cer Mr Ed­ward Mpofu con­firmed the in­ci­dent, which hap­pened last Tues­day at around mid­night.

He said the in­ci­dent was re­ported by se­cu­rity guards who were on duty that night. “We re­ceived a call at around 12.13 AM and we re­sponded swiftly but we found a third of one of the build­ing blocks well alight and the roof had al­ready col­lapsed. An es­ti­mated $800 000 worth of prop­erty was de­stroyed and $1 335 was re­cov­ered half burnt,” Mr Mpofu said. He said the cause of the fire could not be es­tab­lished. “We could not tell what ex­actly caused the fire but we can­not to­tally rule out an elec­tri­cal fault or that some­thing was left on,” Mr Mpofu said.

He said the dam­age could have been re­duced had the fire bri­gade been called on time.

“The se­cu­rity guards had been call­ing us on emer­gency lines 993 and 994 us­ing a cell­phone yet the lines are only ac­ces­si­ble through lan­d­line. This could have been one of the rea­sons why most of the prop­erty was gut­ted down,” Mr Mpofu said.

“The other is­sue is that the build­ing is par­ti­tioned by wood, the fire was likely to spread very fast.”

A source close to in­ves­ti­ga­tions said the cash be­longed to the Mata­bele­land North Pro­vin­cial Road En­gi­neer, Mr Joseph Mokokove, who was keep­ing his doc­u­ments and about $6 200 in the of­fice. — @ NyarieBakie

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