THE fire which engulfed Mbare Matapi Flats yesterday afternoon left at least 18 families homeless although there were no injuries.
The fire was reportedly caused by a minor child who was playing with a candle after a power cut. It also destroyed 12 apartments on the second floor.
A number of families were sharing the apartments, some of them divided by curtains and wooden boards which witnesses said fuelled the inferno.
One of the residents at the flat, Casper Chimhuka, said the fire started around 4pm and residents helped contain the fire using bucketfuls of water until the Harare Fire Brigade arrived.
“The fire started at around 4pm when we had a power cut. A minor child whom I later rescued was playing with fire and we were shocked to see smoke coming from their apartment.
“There was chaos when the fire started with people trying to save their property.
“The Fire Brigade came a bit late but thankfully managed to contain the fire before it spread to other apartments. The worry now is people have no place to stay.
“More than 18 families have been left homeless and need a place to stay,”he said.
As the fire raged on, people could be seen smashing windows and throwing household items outside in a bid to salvage their belongings.
Chimhuka said some families had set up camp on pavements last night.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the fire incident.
“We have received the report but we will provide a comprehensive report tomorrow (today),” he said. ■