June 21, 2021

Bulawayo Factory Plant Goes Up in Smoke

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Munashe Mukahlera

Property, whose value is yet to be established, was destroyed after fire broke out at Monarch Steel factory plant in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo.

The fire broke out on Sunday night and by the time the city fire department arrived, the plant had suffered massive damage. It took until this morning for firefighters to subdue the blaze. No one was injured in the inferno which authorities suspect was caused by an electric fault.

Bulawayo Chief Fire Officer, Lainos Phiri, confirmed the incident to ZTN News.

“The brigade mobilized three vehicles to subdue the fire. On arrival, they discovered that the whole zinc structure and the plastic processing section was on fire. The fire was eventually brought under control after about an hour. However the whole structure had already been damaged but no casualties were reported,” he said.

This is the third building in the city to be gutted by fire in a space of a month, sparking safety concerns among residents. Just last week a police residential flat in the city centre caught fire. Last month, 40 doctors at Mpilo Central Hospital were left homeless after fire gutted their staff residence and destroyed property.

What could be causing the recent surge in fire accidents? Bulawayo Chief Fire Officer, Lainos Phiri, said the fire brigade does the necessary checks but it is up to the companies and building owners to follow through with the recommendations.

“The fire brigade does visits to companies, with the view of fire prevention. In most cases they give advice to the companies about the precautionary measures to be taken. They also do inspections on their firefighting equipment, and make recommendations.

The fire brigade, however, does not do repairs but it is the companies that are obliged to ensure that they hire fire engineering companies to rectify whatever problems would have been detected in their buildings,” he said.

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