The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
PROPERTY worth US$500 000 was lost after a flat housing doctors at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo was on Wednesday night gutted by fire.
Officials are suspecting an electrical fault as the cause of the outbreak. Confirming the incident, Bulawayo Fire brigade senior divisional officer (administration), Mr Jabulani Ndlovu said their preliminary findings pointed to an electrical fault.
“Yes, our officers attended to a fire outbreak at a doctors’ flat at Mpilo Central Hospital, for now our preliminary findings point to an electrical fault but we are still doing our investigations. This (Thursday) morning we are going to meet up with the hospital’s electrician as part of our investigations after that we will then have a clear picture on the cause of the fire,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Commenting on the incident, Mpilo Hospital acting chief executive officer, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said their plea was now for well-wishers to come onboard and partner Government in reconstructing their facilities.
“We are sad that we have lost a large chunk of our accommodation for our members of staff, of which the estimated cost of property lost is at least US$500 000. The tenants reported seeing electricity sparks from a distribution box in the electrical room, therefore that is where we suspect the fire probably started but the Fire Brigade is still conducting its investigations.
“Some of the affected tenants had jumped out from the first floor, at the same time trying to salvage the little they could. The building houses 39 health workers. We are lucky that no one got seriously hurt except a doctor who broke an ankle and the other who inhaled fumes from the smoke,” said Prof Ngwenya.
One of the affected individuals, Dr Gabriel Magengeja revealed the fire broke out at around 10.30pm on Wednesday night.
“At around 10.30pm, I was watching television when I smelt a strong smell of plastic burning. Initially I ignored it but when I realised that the stench was getting stronger, I went to the corridor and found that it was covered by smoke. I also noticed at the electric mains box there were flames there as it was already on fire.
“Some people tried pouring water on the electric switch box but nothing changed. When the fire continued to spread, I went to my room, tried to salvage the little I could and we jumped out of the building as all the exits were now on fire. However, we lost a lot of things inclusive of property, clothes and vital documents, as it is I am supposed to be at work but I do not have anything to wear because it was all burnt,” said Dr Magengeja.
When a Sunday News crew visited the institution on this morning, the officials from the Bulawayo Fire Brigade were still onsite conducting investigations and clearing debris.