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Diesel and Parrafin Confusion Kills 10 year old

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Mrs Lydia Mbadza suffers burns on her body and lost a daughter in an explosion at her homestead after a fuel dealer confused paraffin for petrol.

Mrs Lydia Mbadza allegedly ordered five litres of paraffin from a backyard dealer to make floor polish but as mistakenly given petrol which immediately exploded hen it was heated.

“It was on Sunday last week, there was no electricity so I decided that I should start making my floor polish. Earlier, in the day I had sent my daughters Nokuthaba and her younger sister who is four years old to buy five litres of paraffin worth $75. They brought it but little did we realise that they had been sold petrol as opposed to paraffin. As I started to make the floor polish, I realised that the flame was too intense, with one of my relatives warning that I should try to put out the fire as it was petrol instead of paraffin,” said Mrs Mbadzi, who had bandages on her right hand.

She said the flames jumped to Nokuthaba who rushed into the house, spreading the fire. There was an explosion and Mrs Mbadzi and her other children were burnt.

“All of my children sustained serious burns as the whole house caught fire and we were taken to the hospital. Sadly, Nokuthaba passed away on Friday and this forced me to leave the hospital even without being discharged by authorities. But the other children are still at the hospital and in a critical condition. They are in pain, they need medication, they need to dress their wounds, we have tried our best but we still fall short,” she said.

“Each of them needs approximately US$150 every two days to dress their wounds. They each drink approximately 10 litres of water just to remain cool. It’s painful for us, it’s even harder when we visit them and see them in such pain. We can no longer do it on our own. We need help. We are asking for help. May well-wishers and Government chip in and help us, we are in desperate need of assistance to take care of them in hospital.”

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Mrs Mbadzi said the children also lost all their property including clothes and blankets in the fire and they would need help in that respect.

She said those who are willing to assist the family can get in touch with her on cell number 0782065024 or visit their home at number 5160 Gwabalanda. She said one of her daughters has even missed her Form Four public examinations due to the injuries she sustained.

Mrs Mbadzi said what pains her more is that the person who sold them the fuel has not paid them a visit even though he stays nearby. “It could have been a mistake, we are humans. But he has not even said a word in the spirit of ubuntu. We expected that after the news broke about the disaster, they would have approached as a family but nothing has happened.

We are not saying we want payment but in the spirit of ubuntu we expect that by now they should have even sent local leadership to come and explain how we ended up having the highly flammable petrol instead of paraffin as we had ordered,” said Mrs Mbadzi. Mr Mbadzi was not at home during the time of the interview. Bulawayo police spokesperson Chief Inspector Precious Simango said investigations are in progress.


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