Fire guts Kwekwe lodges


An enormous veld fire destroyed a guest house at Green Mountains Lodge, some 5km outside Kwekwe town last Saturday destroying property worth over $200 000.

The lodge owner Stella Darck is furious and blames Kwekwe City Council fire department for failing to respond to her distress call on time.

When the fire tender eventually arrived, she said, they had no water.

The fire which consumed over 20km of forest also destroyed a newly-built executive club at Club 007 along the Kwekwe — Silobela highway. Owners of the club estimate their loss at over $100 000.

“I am furious because as a resident I am charged a fire levy every month which I pay and when I want a service it is not there. To start with the fire department does not answer its 993 hotline and then they took 55 minutes to respond before coming here without water. All they did was watch the guest house being reduced to ashes,” said Darck.

Director of Works, Engineer John Mhike, refused to comment and referred all the questions to town clerk Emanuel Musara, who was unavailable up to the time of going to Press.

The guest house had been converted into a home which was being leased to Texder Wayn, who told NewsDay the family had lost everything in the fire including $10 000 cash which was in a safe at the house, identity cards and property.

“This was our life’s investment and all has gone down to smoke. We did not trust banks and so we kept out money in the safe. All $10 000 has gone up in smoke including ID’s, car registration books and all property that took us years to accumulate,” said Wayn.

The raging fire went through fire guards and even crossed the main Harare — Bulawayo Highway as the winds and dry trees fuelled the inferno.

Kwekwe District, Environmental Management Agency field officer Victor Pwerinofa told NewsDay he had not yet been informed about the fire which destroyed vast tracts of the savanna forest from Redcliff’s New Zimsteel to Kwekwe which are more than 15km apart.

“That fire has not yet been reported to our office,” Pwerinofa said. “We have field officers everywhere, but nobody has handed in a report on that fire, so we will be investigating.”

Cattle farmers in the area are concerned that their cattle could starve because the fire consumed nearly all grazing areas within the 15km radius.