$800 000 Ministry property gutted by fire

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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