HomeLocal NewsPetrol caused city inferno

Petrol caused city inferno


BULAWAYO City Council’s fire department yesterday said the fire that gutted an Emganwini house was caused by fuel that was being taken from drums.

Report by Pamela Mhlanga

The Tuesday fire destroyed two trucks parked outside the house, 41 drums of petrol and property in two rooms.

Council’s chief fire officer Richard Peterson told NewsDay the department had finally concluded investigations into the cause of the fire.

“It is suspected a spark ignited the petrol vapours as a result of electro static charges accumulated through the process of transferring petrol from the drum into an open container,” he said.

“We tried to look at the vehicle itself if it had any hot surfaces that could have ignited the petrol vapours, but we discarded that because of lack of evidence.

“We also looked at the changing of car batteries at the scene, but we also discarded that as there was a lack of evidence.
“We looked at the possibility that there was someone using a cellphone, but we also discarded that due to lack of evidence.”

Peterson said it was unfortunate that the owner of the house and other occupants lacked knowledge of the repercussions of transferring petrol from one source to another through an open space.

On Wednesday, the owner of the house, Precious Ngwenya, disputed allegations that the 41 drums which were in her yard contained petrol saying they had paraffin.

Ngwenya said she started her business of selling paraffin which she buys from Botswana, years ago when the country started experiencing fuel shortages.

She said she had never sold diesel or petrol, but she only stored a little for her commuter omnibuses plying the Bulawayo-Binga and cross-border routes.

The city also witnessed another serious fire outbreak when a Redan Service Station was partly damaged on Independence Day.

Two fuel tankers were also destroyed.

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