Property worth tens of thousands of dollars was destroyed after a complex in the Plumtree Central Business District (CBD) was burnt over the weekend.
Occupants of Zinini Complex watched in despair as their valuables were destroyed in the fire suspected to have been caused by an electric fault at around 1PM on Sunday.
The building, which is located about 60 metres from the Plumtree Town Council offices, housed a driving school, private college, hardware store, micro financing company, a general dealer, dressmaking shop among other businesses.
Plumtree fire fighters arrived at the scene at around 5PM from Bulawayo where they had reportedly gone to service one of their vehicles.
Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Inspector Philani Ndebele confirmed the incident.
“I received a report about a building that was destroyed by fire in Plumtree on Sunday. I’m yet to receive a detailed report on the total cost of property that was destroyed by the fire and the nature of goods,” he said.
A tailor who was operating at the complex, Mr Nelson Mazhetese, said he lost seven machines, clothes, uniforms, among other things in the fire.
He said he arrived at the scene about 30 minutes after the fire had started.
Mr Mazhetese said he had to watch in despair as his valuables were destroyed.
“I got a call around 1PM informing me that the complex was on fire and by the time I arrived the whole building was up in flames. We suspect that the fire was caused by an electric fault. It started at a general dealer shop which is next to my shop and then quickly spread to the other rooms.
“I had seven machines which comprised five industrial and two domestic machines. Each machine is worth about $400 and they were all destroyed by the fire. I also had a variety of clothes that I was sewing for clients as well as material and other valuables that were also destroyed,” he said.
Mr Mazhetese said the fire brigade arrived at around 5PM from Bulawayo when the entire building had been destroyed. He said he believed the damage would have been minimal if the fire brigade had arrived on time.
“It’s unfortunate that the fire brigade wasn’t around at the time but I believe the fire could have been contained. We could have managed to salvage something.
“This incident is a huge blow to us as it threatens our livelihoods. I’m a tailor and that is my main source of income. Now that machinery has been destroyed I don’t know how I will fend for my family,” he said.