SUBJECT: SUDDEN DEATH BY FIRE OF DOUGLAS MUNATSI AT NUMBER C9 NORTHFIELDS FLATS, CORNER JOSIAH TONGOGARA AND FIFTH AVENUE, HARARE.
This memorandum serves to put on record circumstances and initial Investigations on the above subject matter.
- Charles Gardner Aged 32 years
- NR: 22-086170 A 00
- Res: Number C10, Northfields Flats, Harare
- Bus: Number 1, Barry Close off LgmAgyndi, Rd, Harare
- Douglas Munatsi Aged 59 years
- NR: 63-361205 E 83.
- Res: C9 Northfields Flats, Harare.
- Bus: Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA CEO)
The informant occupies the same flat as deceased, residing at the apartment on the 10’n floor, while the deceased occupied the apartment on the 9th floor. On 29 November 2021 at around 0250hours, the informant heard some explosion-like noise and he woke up and went to the balcony to check where the noise was coming from. The informant saw smoke coming from the now deceased’s flat which is directly below his flat and a voice that was shouting ‘Fire please help’. Informant then phoned fire brigade at the same time running downstairs to the ground floor. A report was made at ZRP Harare Central.
Scene was attended by CID Homicide, CID Studios, CID Scenes of Crime, CID Forensic and ZRP Harare Central who made the following observations.
- Scene is a ninth floor 7 roomed flat comprising of three bedrooms, dining room, Lounge, kitchen and Gym situated at corner Josiah Tongogara and Fifth Street, Harare.
- The main bedroom was extensively damaged by fire to the extent that all windows and doors were broken, all the furniture in the bedroom were extensively burnt that only steel frames for the bed and built-in cupboards were observed.
- The remains of the deceased found in a sitting position just beside the tub in the main bedroom with some burns on the hands and legs, he was putting on a red T-shirt and a black pair of shorts which were not burnt to suggest that the deceased could have been burnt by the heat of the fire and not direct flames.
- Interviewed was the informant who indicated that he heard sound as if something had exploded at about 0250 hours and woke up to check and discovered that there was smoke coming from the now deceased’s flat, He also mentioned that he heard the now deceased calling for help. Same mentioned that he phoned Fire Brigade at about 0253 hours at the same time telling the now deceased to come out. The informant stated that he then ran downstairs on foot since there was no electricity on the flat since about 1445 hours on Saturday 27 November 2021. He further narrated that Fire Brigade arrived at the scene at about 0311 hours but had some challenges in accessing the flat since it was on the 9th floor. The informant mentioned that Fire brigade only finished extinguishing the fire at about 0530 hours.
- Also interviewed was Shupai Zifunge aged 47 years NR 04-070519 B 04 of Block 7, C10 Shawasha, Flats, Mbare, Harare who is employed by Securico Security Company as a security guard based at Northfields Flats. Same indicated that he last saw the now deceased on 28 November 2021 at about 1820 hours when he (deceased) told him that he was expecting a guest at the flat and he asked the informant to escort the guest to his flat when she arrived. The guard further mentioned that the said guest who was recorded on the security checkpoint book as Coleta NFPK arrived at about 1905 and he escorted her to the now deceased’s flat. The said guest left the flat at about 2118 hours on foot. Shupai Zifunge further stated that on 29 November 2021 around 0300 hours he heard some explosion and he went out of the guardroom and saw the informant running downstairs telling him that there was a fire in flat number C9.
- Martin Chitura aged 41 years, Nr 48-093840 M 48 of number 858, Helvesia Road, Borrowdale, Harare who is employed by the now-deceased as a personal driver, he indicated that he last saw the now deceased on Sunday 28 November 2021 at about 1800 hours when they were both him and the now-deceased were doing some covid tests. He mentioned that he left the now deceased in his motor vehicle parked at the flat proceeding to his home.
- Further interviewed was Saurosi Marichambo aged 53 years Nr 24-075307 L 24 of number 14132 Hatcliffe, Harare, a male aged 36 years who is local and he stated that he was employed by the now-deceased as a chef since 2020. He also mentioned that he last saw the now deceased on Saturday 27 November 2021 at about 1500 hours when he knocked off duty, he mentioned that he left the now deceased alone at home. He went on to say he only came to know of the incident on 29 November 2021 at about 0630 hours when he arrived for work and saw the fire brigade vehicle at the flat.
- Deceased’s young brother Cardmelon Munatsi, aged 47 years NR 63-940546 S 83 residing at Kunatsa Estates, Matepatepa area, same indicated that he was with the now-deceased the previous day. He further stated that the now deceased sent a WhatsApp sms on the family group at 0159 hours of 29 November 2021 which sms was over a topic they were discussing as a family.
The remains of deceased’s body were taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary awaiting post mortem.
Investigations are underway under ZRP Harare Central IR 112047 refers.
- Ascertain the cause of death through postmortem.
- To establish the cause of fire through reports from Fire brigade and Forensic.
- To interview the said guest who was recorded as the last person to visit the now deceased at the place of occurrence one only recorded as Colleta NFPK.
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS DEPARTMENT: 29 November 2021