Zimbabwe –– Efforts to put down a fierce forest fire that threatened to raze a whole village in Rusape last week ended tragically for a seven-year-old boy who was burnt beyond recognition. Blessing Mashura (7) of Plot 6 Crofton Farm in Rusape had accompanied his mother Snodia Chaeruka (26) and other villagers to control the fire.
According to Mutare police, the fire was so intense that it was likely to burn down the entire compound. However, as they were putting it out, a whirlwind blew the fire towards the minor who failed to escape resulting in him being burnt to death.
Acting Manicaland police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Enock Chishiri said circumstances leading to the death of the minor were that on July 11, villagers at Crofton Farm noticed a huge fire approaching the compound.
The villagers teamed up to control the fire and the deceased and his mother were part of that group. While they were controlling the fire, a sudden whirlwind blew the fire to where Blessing was standing and he fell down as he tried to escape.
He caught fire and was burnt to death. Efforts by the villagers to help the minor were fruitless, Chishiri said.
The police encouraged the public to avoid starting veld fires and report those responsible to the relevant authorities as they threatened both human lives and the environment.
They advised people to consider their safety first and erect fireguards wherever necessary.