A five-year-old child died in a raging inferno on Thursday morning after the room he was sleeping in caught fire.
The tragedy, which occurred at around 2am at Lower Gwelo Mission, under Vungu Rural District Council, traumatised the local community.
At the time of the incident, the minor, Clive Dube is said to have been sleeping alone in the bedroom while his grandmother, Mrs Memory Mthombeni (54), a teacher, was in another room marking books.
Mr Daniel Gumbo, a neighbour who was among the first to attend the scene, said that the fire was caused by a candle that Mrs Mthombeni had left on, as she went to mark books possibly because the child was afraid of the dark.
“It appears as if while the grandmother was marking the books she fell asleep in the lounge and was only awoken by the smoke which had started choking her.
“Unfortunately by the time she woke up the room in which the child was sleeping was already engulfed by the fire,” said the shaken Mr Gumbo.
A family member, Ms Grace Mthombeni said the death of the child took them by surprise and it was a loss that the family is finding hard to deal with.
Ms Mthombeni said funeral arrangements are underway and the child is expected to be laid to rest on Sunday.
She said she could not narrate the circumstances of the death because she was not present when the incident happened.
“The best person to narrate this is his grandmother but she has since been admitted in hospital, her blood pressure went up due to shock and stress so we can not disturb her,” she said.
Gweru Chief Fire Officer Mr Emmanuel Musemwa said:
“I can confirm that a five-year-old juvenile passed on in a fire when the room he was sleeping in caught fire. The fire was caused by a candle that ignited the entire house. We attended the scene at around 4am and managed to retrieve the body but unfortunately none of the property was salvaged.”
Midlands Police Spokesperson Inspector Joel Goko said investigations are underway. “Police in Maboleni are investigating a case where a five-year-old boy was burnt to death after the house he and his grandmother were in caught fire.
“As police in the Midlands Province we appeal to members of the public to desist from hoarding fuel, gas and other flammable substances. They should also switch off any electrical gadgets which are not in use.
“People should also desist from keeping all naked flames unattended as this may cause destruction of property and loss of life,” said Insp Goko.