BY NIZBERT MOYO
A FIRE that broke out at Southampton Building last Friday is said to be likely a result of poor maintenance of the building.
The building serves as the headquarters for the ZRP in Bulawayo and also includes residential apartments for police officers.
It is said the fire-fighting equipment in the building was last checked more than 20 years ago, which could have resulted in failure to contain the fire which destroyed household property on the 13th floor.
Acting Bulawayo Chief fire officer Lynos Phiri told NewsDay that the fire was caused by an electric fault.
Phiri also disclosed that there was no operational fire-fighting equipment in the building as the horse reel, hand extinguishers and dry risers on all floors had been vandalised.
He said the Local Government ministry was responsible for checking the equipment in buildings.
“It is the duty of the Local Government ministry to check government buildings. In any case, other buildings done by us were checked and recommendations were made, but the problem is that they do not service the equipment,’’ Phiri said.
A source told NewsDay that since the building was taken over by the police 22 years ago, the equipment had never been checked, raising fears that there could be more buildings around the city which do not have adequate fire-fighting equipment.
“It has been long since the equipment was checked, the fire brigade used to come and check the equipment every year in June, but ever since police came in to occupy the building in 1999, it has never been serviced,’’ he said.
- Follow Nizbert on Twitter @N.M