A 3 Month old baby was burnt yesterday morning beyond recognition in Nkulumane after her family’s house was gutted by fire that is suspected to have been triggered by an electrical fault.

Siyabonga Nkomo was reduced to ashes while her two-year-old sister Ntombikayise was retrieved from the raging fire by their 92- year-old grandmother. The incident happened at about 7AM while their mother had left the house to buy airtime.


The fire was extinguished by members of the public before the arrival of the Fire Brigade. Police spokesperson for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Inspector Precious Simango said the course of action they are likely to take would be determined once investigations into the cause of the fire have been concluded.

“We are waiting for Zesa to complete their investigations in determining the cause of the fire. After Zesa completes its investigations, we will know the course of action to take regarding the fire incident,” said Insp Simango.

Hesber Mpofu, the toddler’s uncle, said the family was still trying to come to terms with the traumatic incident. “Their mother had gone out to buy airtime. She was talking to her husband who is based in Botswana. So when she was out the fire started, causing the death,” said Mpofu.

He said it was through the grace of God’s that Ntombikayise escaped unhurt.

“Her 92-year-old granny saved Ntombikayise but the fire was too strong when she tried to go in again to save the younger one. She was sweeping the yard when the fire started and was only alerted by neighbours who had heard screams coming from the house,” he said.

Mpofu said because of the granny’s advanced age she has a hearing impairment, thus she could not immediately hear the toddlers crying for help until neighbours alerted her of the disaster.

“While neighbours are said to have been afraid to enter the room because of flames engulfing the house, she stormed into the room and retrieved one of the babies,” said Mpofu.

One of the neighbours said she started calling for help assuming that it was the granny trapped in the burning room.

“I thought ugogo was the one being burnt. She is old and has memory loss. She sometimes misplaces her keys so I thought she was the one in the house. I shouted for help and everyone thought the door was locked,”
said the neighbour.

“After realising that people were gathering I saw ugogo coming from the other side of the yard, she just stormed into the house while we thought it was locked. Others had even climbed up the roof just to try and extinguish the fire by breaking its asbestos’s sheets.”

When The Chronicle news crew visited the family’s residence at about 10AM yesterday, homicide detectives were conducting investigations. Bulawayo chief fire officer Richard Peterson said the fire could have been caused by an electric fault.


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