Woman torches rented house in marital dispute

Police in Bulawayo have arrested a woman who allegedly torched their rented accommodation in Hillside suburb during a dispute with her husband.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said the suspect Miriam Goba (27) is being charged with malicious damage to property after the six roomed house went up in flames on Tuesday.

According to neighbours, Goba and her husband a Mr Chirisa have been going through some marital problems.

In the latest incident, an enraged Goba allegedly torched some clothing items and a couch in one of the rooms they used resulting in the property catching fire.

The owners of the house are said to be based in Botswana.

In a statement, Bulawayo Chief fire officer, Linos Phiri said when they arrived on the scene, the building was well alight and the roof had already collapsed.

“The fire and huge smoke could be seen from as far as Matopos Road. The fire was spreading from the front of the building to the back and the entire roof structure had collapsed and almost all rooms had caught fire,” said Phiri.

“The following observations were made at the fire scene on arrival, the roof structure had already collapsed, blue flame that was water-resistant was observed coming from a room suspected to be the origin of the fire, there was no electricity in the entire suburb of Hillside and surrounding areas. The fire had spread to almost the entire house suggesting that it had been raging on for a while being reported and a 5kg gas cylinder was recovered at the scene where a blue flame was observed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chirisa told the fire brigade that when his wife started burning clothing items outside and a sofa in the room they were living in, he used water to douse off the fire.

He then left the house to report the matter at Hillside Police station.

Bongani Ngwenya, the other tenant, told the fire brigade that everyone tried to calm Goba to no avail.

“I witnessed the fight between Chirisa and Goba and Goba started burning clothing items and other property including sofas. Everyone within that house tried to her down to no avail. I was alerted by shouts warning fire and I ran outside, leaving everything inside as the fire had spread to the corridor,” said Ngwenya.

Meanwhile, Mrs Kwete, the other tenant, said when she was going to the kitchen, she saw that the room where Chirisa and her wife lived was brightly lit.

“I thought that maybe they had lit a candle as there was no electricity. Later on, 10 to 15 minutes after first seeing the light, I heard a scream shouting fire and found that the fire was already in the corridor and thick smoke had filled the entire house and could only get myself and children out of the burning house,” said Kwete.

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