Nyaradzo Bakari Bulawayo Bureau
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) lost wagons worth about $1,6 million in two fire incidents in the last 48 hours.
Bulawayo Fire Brigade chief fire officer Mr Richard Petersen confirmed both incidents.
“There were two fires. Yesterday (Thursday) we were called at 1346hrs and we found 10 coaches, estimated at $750 000, on fire,” said Mr Petersen.
“We were also called this morning (Friday) around 0530hrs and we found 11 coaches on fire. This case is still under investigations but the estimated damage is $850 000 but arson is not ruled out as a cause,” he said.
NRZ spokesperson Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said the fire was caused by track workers who were using fire to clear grass surrounding the wagons.
“The fire was caused by track workers clearing grass and shrubs. One of the ways of clearing was burning, so I think the fire spread to the coaches because of wind and destroyed the coaches,” said Mr Maravanyika.
He said the workers and their supervisor have been arrested and charged with malicious damage to property and further investigations were in progress.
Mr Maravanyika said disciplinary action would be taken after the police were done with investigations.
He said the company would move the parastatal’s unused wagons to a safer place as a precaution against fire damage.
“The second measure is displacing stationed wagons to safer places,” Mr Maravanyika said.