By Hardlife Samuwi
Thirty-nine health workers and their families have been left in the cold after a raging fire razed down the staff residencies of Mpilo Central Hospital, with property worth hundreds of dollars in United States dollars being destroyed.
Although details are still sketchy, authorities believe the fire could have been caused by sparks from an electrical distribution box.
At the time of publishing, the Fire Brigade was conducting further forensic investigations to establish the exact cause of the fire.
At least one person suffered a broken ankle and another had smoke inhalation effects but is stable, the hospital’s Acting CEO, Solwayo Ngwenya said, adding that the hospital is arranging temporary accommodation for the affected health workers and their families.
“We have just been woken up to come and attend to this horrific inferno,” he said.
“We have never witnessed such a fire here. The fire has caused extensive damage to some of our staff quarters. We are on the ground right now, and the fire brigade is currently busy trying to extinguish the fire,” Ngwenya added.
He added that people had been evacuated from the affected buildings.
Ngwenya also said doctors, nurses and other staff members had now been left homeless.
“We will assess the damage in the morning, but we think that it’s running into hundreds of thousands of United States dollars.”
Hundreds of patients drawn from at least five provinces are referred to Mpilo hospital annually, making it the biggest referral health centre in the south-western part of Zimbabwe.
According to Mpilo website, the referral centre is a 1 000-bedded hospital, and is a major paternal centre which serves the entire Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Matabeleland North and South, Midlands and Masvingo provinces.
It is also a teaching hospital for the National University of Science and Technology, and has strong links with the University of Zimbabwe and several other academic institutions.
Mpilo Hospital employs over 2 300 workers.