Man burns beyond recognition at small house's lodgings
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The incident that was confirmed by Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Peter Zhanero happened yesterday morning when the deceased had just come from a beer drink, a stone's throw from the house.
"Yes, I can confirm that we received information to the effect that a man was burnt to death at a house in Rujeko C today, early in the morning. However, I do not have full details of what exactly transpired," said Insp Zhanero.
The deceased, who was identified, as Langton Mangena, of 20607 Nzungu Street in Rujeko C, is said to have been dead drunk.
Speaking to Chronicle, residents said Mangena, whose alleged girlfriend was away came home in the early hours and was dead drunk.
"Mangena was last seen at Rujeko Council bar at around 2am drinking beer with his friends. He left the bar at around 3am and the incident happened at about 4am. The deceased was dead drunk after he, together with his friends had won a darts tournament in Zvishavane on Saturday," said Mr William Chikwanha.
He said the deceased forgot to put out the candle before sleeping as he was drunk, adding that there is no electricity at the rented house.
"It is largely believed that Mangena, who was drunk, could have forgotten to put out the candle before sleeping. The lit candle could have burnt the bed first before extending to the other property in the house," he said.
Another resident, who was visibly shaken by the incident, Ms Hilda Phiri, said the deceased had previously accompanied her to the hospital and was in a jovial mood.
"Mangena accompanied me to the hospital on Saturday morning as I was not feeling well. I was devastated when I learnt of his untimely death. He was in a jovial mood.
"He is known as the man who loves his brown bottle, and we highly suspect that he was drunk when the incident happened," she said.
A neighbour who witnessed the inferno, Ms Tendai Muguti, said they were awakened by a crackling sound, which was coming from the semi-finished house and they quickly made efforts to put out the fire before the arrival of fire brigade.
"I heard a crackling noise coming from this house and I woke my husband so that we could investigate what was happening. We then saw thick smoke coming from the house and rushed to fetch water to put out the fire.
"We were pouring water into the room through the windows that had already been broken by the heat," said Ms Muguti.
She said they only discovered that there was someone in the room when the fire brigade crew arrived at the scene.
"We only discovered that there was someone in the house who unfortunately had been burnt beyond recognition when fire brigade personnel came. Everything in the room was destroyed and the man, whose body was badly burnt, was found at the corner of the room," she said.
When a Chronicle crew visited the scene, the police had collected the deceased's remains and only the charred remains of the burnt property were left.
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