THREE family members died yesterday after the house they were sleeping in caught fire during the early hours of the morning.
Bulawayo Council chief fire officer Richard Peterson confirmed the incident saying two of the victims were burnt beyond recognition.
“I confirm that the department received a fire alert call around 0044hrs from Emakhandeni suburb,” Peterson said.
“The inferno which gutted the house left three people dead. Two were burnt beyond recognition and another person is believed to have suffocated to death.”
Peterson said the dead included a 58-year-old woman together with her 29-year-old daughter who were burnt beyond recognition.
Her 37-year-old son is suspected to have died due to suffocation caused by smoke inhalation.
“The perished family is believed to have been mentally challenged and we are yet to establish the cause of the fire,” Peterson said.
“When the fire brigade arrived, there was a lot of junk in the house and two rooms were totally destroyed by the fire.”
He said since there were claims that the whole family was mentally challenged,
one of them could have started the fire while trying to cook, but said investigations were underway.
“We are informed by neighbours that the family was isolated and reclusive, but survived from food brought to them by neighbours, church members and well-wishers,” Peterson said.
The victims were identified as Cleopas, Chipo and Christina Mudinzwa. Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo confirmed the incident.