MYSTERY surrounds the death of a one-year-old toddler who succumbed to serious burns last week on Wednesday after a fire started inside his parents’ rented one-room apartment in Sakubva’s NHB area.
Beloved Ziduche had been left sleeping and unsupervised by his 17-year-old uncle when neighbours noticed smoke coming from the house.
The uncle had left him to go and fetch water.
When neighbours broke into the house, Beloved was gasping for air and had crawled to the other side of the bed, looking for a way to escape from the inferno.
When The Manica Post visited the neighbourhood last week on Thursday, Beloved’s mother, Ms Glodin Muchacha was yet to come to terms with the incident.
“My child died a painful death. Take a look at the bed and the mattress, there are no signs that there was ever a fire. How can someone sustain serious burns when the bed and blankets he was sleeping on are as good as new? My son’s body burst and I have never heard of this. You should see his body to believe what I am saying,” she said as she struggled with emotions.
Ms Muchacha said there was no power supply on the fateful day, adding that they do not keep any match sticks in the house, thereby ruling out the theory that Beloved could have tampered with them.
True to Ms Muchacha’s words, the mattress on which Beloved was sleeping on was hardly burnt.
lnside the same room and next to where Beloved had been sleeping was a full gas tank which was not affected by the inferno.
Beloved’s father, Mr Blessing Ziduche said his child died before he could be transferred to Sally Mugabe (Harare) Hospital. The father of the deceased child, Mr Blessing Ziduche
“He died when he was about to be taken to Sally Mugabe Hospital in Harare. Our neighbours rushed him to the hospital and I feel so bad that I was not there for my child in his hour of need. He died a painful death,” said Mr Ziduche.
A neighbour, Ms Beulah Muyambo, who was one of the first responders to the incident, said she saw smoke coming from the house and called other neighbours before rushing there.
“The door was closed from outside, but when we opened it, we noticed that there was no fire, it was only smoke. The baby was burnt and his skin appeared to have melted. There was no sign of any fire whatsoever in the house. The bed on which he was allegedly sleeping was intact, except for a few hardly visible burn marks on the mattress,” she said.
Ms Muyambo added that Beloved’s blankets were also not burnt, thereby leaving more questions than answers for his family and neighbours.
However, a television set and speakers that were on the walls were also burnt.
Neighbours hurriedly asked a well-wisher for transport to rush the baby to the hospital.
Another neighbour, Mr Philemon Mukonyo said when he got to the house, people had gathered as the baby was writhing in pain and struggling to breathe.
“I rushed to where the baby was and picked him up using a blanket. We took him to Sakubva District Hospital and were transferred to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital. The child was still alive. He was crying and saying he was feeling hot. It was a sorry sight,” he said.
Neighbours, however, are blaming the uncle for the incident, accusing him of leaving a burning cigarette stub in the room when he went to fetch water.
The uncle, however, says he is also hurt by Beloved’s death.
“I had been babysitting Beloved for almost a year without any incident. I am also shocked that they are saying the door was closed. I left it open. I did not smoke inside the house,” said the teenager.
— Manica Post