Mhlauri cheats death
Sports Reporter —
FORMER Warriors and CAPS United coach Charles Mhlauri cheated death together with his wife and four kids on Tuesday morning when they escaped unharmed after their Meriden residence in Vermont, United States of America caught fire.
The house was completely destroyed,
According to reports from the United States, the fire broke out in an attached shed to the house around 4am while Mhlauri, his wife Thembi, their four children and two guests were inside the house which is owned by Kimbali Union Academy.
The former CAPS United mentor is the assistant athletic director at the academy as well as Lightning soccer director of coaching following his relocation to the US in 2008.
The club is assisting the Mhlauri family, who have since been evacuated to another KUA property before a permanent solution is found.
It took the fire department six hours to get the fire under control. Mhlauri has been staying at the faculty house, which is a historic house at the campus for the past five years.
And according to Meriden fire chief Frank Currier, who was quoted in the local daily newspaper Valley News, in the area which Mhlauri resides, the fire could have been fatal, as the house’s smoke detectors were not functional.
“The situation could have been much worse.
“Though the home was equipped with smoke detectors, they were not functional at the time of the fire.
“At least one person inside the home was awake, smelled smoke, alerted the rest of the residents and called 911.
“It could have been a totally different story, said Currier.
According to Valley news, the fire is believed to have started in or around a trash can that was in a small shed that adjoins the house with a large barn.
The fire has since been ruled as accidental but the exact cause remains undetermined. Currier was one of the first people on the scene and said the shed and barn were fully engulfed in flames when he arrived at the Route 120 home.
He said crews tried to save the front portion of the house by knocking down flames as they moved to the main living space, but the fire spiralled out of control.
“It got up in the attic and we didn’t stand a chance.
“It was pretty much a done deal at that point,” said Currier.
The chief called the fire under control several hours after it broke out. He deemed the building a total loss. KUA sporting equipment that was housed in the barn was also destroyed, including motorised vehicles.
The head of the school Michael Schafer said people were coming in with help offers to the Mhlauri family.
“Right now, their emotional safety and the uneasiness of the dislocation and distress are first and foremost our concern.
“Many in the town have already reached out to offer assistance; we are so fortunate to be in such caring school and extended communities,” said Schafer.
Mhlauri, guided the national team to the Africa Cup of Nations 2006 edition in Egypt, where Zimbabwe again finished at the group stages.
Before that Mhlauri had led CAPS United to back to back league titles in 2004 and 2005.