An 87 year old man of Mongu district in Western Province, Lubinda Kwalombota, has died in an inferno after he rescued two young children from the same fire.
The incident occurred about midnight on Friday last week in Kazungula District’s Police Camp area where the late Mr Kwalombota went to visit his relatives.
Namakau Moopo, who is Mr Kwalombota’s granddaughter, narrated that the deceased died after he successfully removed two young boys from a house which catch fire.
“What happened was that we were using a candle in the night since children were not used to sleeping without lights.
“When they woke up in the night, there was a candle which was burning and my grandfather noticed that the bed for children was on fire and then he called the children and helped them to come out of the house,” Ms Moopo said.
What happened was that we called the fire brigades but they were not answering the phone and later told us that they had no fuel.
She said she started pouring water to quench fire and she did not know that Mr Kwalombota, who woke up the children, was unfortunately caught by the same fire.
“I did not know that there was a person in the fire and I was worried that maybe one of the children was burnt along and that was how I poured more water.
“Unfortunately, fire increased as I poured more water and I then called the neighbors and well-wishers for help but fire could not stop,” Ms Moopo said.
She said the Police, well-wishers and herself called the Kazungula Municipal Council Fire Brigade to stop the fire but the fire fighters did not go to the scene.
Ms Moopo said fire was only quenched off completely on Saturday morning around 02:00 hours by neighbors and friends and Mr Kwalombota had already died by then.
A resident, Mervis Kasongo, said it was unfortunate that the Kazungula Fire Brigade could not go to the scene to save the life Mr Kwalombota.
Ms Kasongo also blamed ZESCO for not going to the funeral house to check the power connections.
“What happened was that we called the fire brigades but they were not answering the phone and later told us that they had no fuel.
“They also didn’t come to get the body of the late and they have not even come to visit us at the funeral,” she said.
Mandia Ward Councillor Brighton Mwampole said the community in his area was not happy with what transpired on Friday night.
“This old man is the one who saw the fire and he saved the lives of two young boys and the entire members of the house but the same fire killed him.
“We have fire tenders and we are not happy because life could have been saved if the fire tender came on time. As a community leader, I am not happy and I would like the behavior of fire fighters to change in future,” Mr Mwampole said.
And Kazungula District Commissioner, Pascalina Musokotwane, who visited the funeral house on Monday and later attended the burial, was also not happy with Council fire fighters as the incident occurred behind the market which was not very far from the local authority.
“We are supposed to be working as a family and not whereby other people feel they are more superior and more learned and clever than other people.
“We were not going to be losing life just like that. If the council acted promptly, that man would have been saved and I am putting the blame on them. We have a fire tender which the Government purchased and we have the workers who are supposed to do their job,” Ms Musokotwane said.
Efforts to get a comment from Kazungula Municipal Council fire fighters proved future.