Over 18 families were left homeless when a minor ignited a fire that destroyed household property worth thousands of dollars in the Matapi flats in Mbare, Harare on Wednesday.
The Herald reports that the minor was playing with a candle after a power cut resulting in part of the top floor of a block, and 12 apartments on the second floor catching fire.
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, Mr Casper Chimhuka, told The Herald that the fire started around 4 pm and residents helped contain the fire using bucketfuls of water until the Harare Fire Brigade arrived. He said:
_The fire started at around 4 pm 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._
Mr Chimhuka said some families had set up camp on pavements last night as they had nowhere to go.
As the fire raged on, people could be seen smashing windows and throwing household items outside in a bid to save their belongings.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the fire incident adding that the police would provide a comprehensive report Thursday.