IN most cases, origins of fires that gut houses leave traces: arson, electrical faults, gas explosions and uncontrolled naked flames.
But in some instances, the fires are unsolved mysteries. Since 2011, a house in Harare’s Budiriro 4 suburb has become the setting for a series of unexplained fires.
The causes of the fires – which gutted the house in three consecutive years – have not been ascertained.
In a version of events corroborated by several neighbours, Miss Chiratidzo Magume – whose home is adjacent to the “haunted” house, the fires always occur in June.
“It all began in 2011 when the house was gutted by a fire. We all thought it was an accident,” she says.
“However, the following year in June, the same house was once again destroyed by a mysterious fire. The owners of the house relocated to Mutare and leased the house.”
Adds Miss Magume: “After moving in, one of the tenants was horrified as he watched helplessly while his property engulfed by a fire whose source he did not know. He subsequently moved out.”
For three years, the house – which had been reduced to a shell – remained unoccupied.
Then three commercial se_x workers put a plastic roof and moved into the structure without the authority of the house owner.
The Sunday Mail caught up with one of the occupants of the once deserted structure who introduced herself as Sherrie and said she was living “comfortably” at the house.
“I am aware of the history behind this house, but I do not have a choice,” she said.
“I am failing to afford descent accommodation and worse I cannot afford to pay rentals. At first I was scared to live in this house, but now I am comfortable.”
Sherrie said she knew how to “deal” with the whatever was supposedly haunting the house.
“It is a known fact that the fires always raze this house in June. We will simply move out before June and return the following month. It is as simple as that,” a chuckling Sherrie said.
Neighbours suspect the fires are a result of witchcraft.
The owners of the house, whom neighbours say have not set foot their since 2015, could not be reached for comment.