Three more victims of the Sunningdale horror fire died at Harare Central Hospital over the weekend bringing the official death toll to 11, a senior hospital official confirmed yesterday.
Three people died on the spot when a petrol tanker burst into flames following an accident just over a week ago, while five others, part of the 13 admitted at the hospital, died between Tuesday and Friday last week.
The hospital’s acting chief executive officer, Dr George Vera, confirmed the deaths adding that one patient was still in a critical condition.
“We have lost three more and we have five who are still admitted although one of them is quite unwell,” said Dr Vera.
Most of the victims had more than 40% degree burns with some suffering as high as 75% burns.
Dr Vera said burns above 40% had a high mortality rate — over 50%, while the mortality rate increased with the percentage degree of burns.
He said the Sunningdale victims had suffered both external and internal burns, which contributed to the deaths.
“Even in a good unit, 40% burns have a mortality rate of more than 50%. But in this case, most of the patients inhaled fire and had their lungs and chest lines destroyed,” he said.
“So when we talk of the percentage of burns, we are talking about the outside only, but they also had internal burns.”
Among the people who died are those who granted a NewsDay crew interviews last Monday.
Most of them had expressed hope of making it.
The victims were burnt when a tanker, carrying 35 000 litres of fuel burst into flames while several residents were collecting fuel which was pouring out of the tanker.
Several people who were watching the goings-on from afar were also burnt.
The tanker had overturned after an accident with a small vehicle, which had failed to give way.
The fire lasted more than two hours and also burnt two cars, one which was 70 metres away and a commuter omnibus which was about 100 metres away.