Patients and guardians at Mangochi District had a rude awakening yesterday when fire gutted two of the health facility’s blocks—an integrated block where antenatal and under-five clinic services are offered and another block where College of Medicine students do research.
Both Mangochi District Hospital spokesperson Harold Kabuluzi and Mangochi Police Station spokesperson Rodrick Maida confirmed the incident.
In an interview, Kabuluzi failed to say what caused the fire. He, however, said the fire started just after power was restored following a blackout.
“I don’t know what caused the fire. All I can say is that there was a blackout in the whole district and I am told when power was restored, this sad development [happened],” he said.
Asked if there were some casualties and how much damage the fire had caused, Kabuluzi said no casualty was registered. He also declined to comment on the value of the damaged property.
“We haven’t yet made the assessment. But very soon we want to have a meeting as District Health Management Team, which comprises officials from the district council, where we want to find out what led this fire and the extent of the damage,” he said.
In his remarks, Maida also did not disclose the cause of the inferno but said as police they just received a message that the hospital was on fire.
“When we came we found people had already started dousing the fire,” he said.
Added Maida: “I would like to commend these people because without them the fire would have spread to other buildings and I am afraid we could even have lost lives.”
However, one of the residents who helped put out the fire said the incident started when a health worker switched on a genset to help a patient who was on oxygen.
“There was a blackout and there was a patient on oxygen in the male ward. So, the clinician went to switch on the genset, but after switching it on, Escom power was also restored; hence, the fire,” he said.