TWO Seventh Day Adventist Church buildings in Harare’s Mount Pleasant area were early this week gutted by fire with the damage estimated to be running into a hundred thousand dollars.
The church was however quick to distance the unfortunate occurrence to any malicious act by anyone at a time the country was beginning to experience the resurgence of political fire attacks on rivals.
A statement said Thursday the fire, which took nearly four hours to contain by a Harare city fire crew and a passers-by, gutted the church structures and furniture igniting an appeal for donations by church authorities to help repair the damaged property.
The church suspects it could have spread from the nearby bushes outside its yard.
“On Monday 17th July 2017, structures at Mount Pleasant Church in Harare were gutted by fire,” said a statement attributed to a parish pastor.
“We believe that the fire came from the fields behind the eastern perimeter of the church passing through the adjacent neighbouring church before the wind blew it over the wall on the thatched roof of the main church structure.
“Due to the strong winds, it did not take long before the whole roof was ablaze and within about 45 minutes the raging fire had spread to the adjacent gazebo which the church had often used as a children’s chapel.
“The fire brigade came in and did the best they could under the circumstances. “They fought the fire for a period of not less than 4 hours helping to stop the fire from spreading to the guest house a few mitres from the children’s chapel.”
No one was injured as a result. Called for more detail, church elder Nqobile Magwizi, who also deals with its communication, said nearly a hundred thousand dollars in both movable and immovable property could have been lost.
“There were two buildings which were caught in the fire and this included the main auditorium used by church,” he said.
“We estimate the damage around both the building and furniture to be plus or minus $100,000.” He however ruled out any foul play insisting “the day was extremely windy and we think it was just an accident which happened naturally”.