Zimbabwean Billionaire's Mansion Gutted By Fire

Flamboyant businessman Dr Philip Chiyangwa was injured early yesterday morning after fire razed part of his Borrowdale mansion, causing extensive damage to a number of rooms, including his master bedroom.

The fire was reportedly sparked by an electrical fault.

When The Herald crew visited the mansion yesterday, Dr Chiyangwa was leaving in a Mercedes Benz heading for a private city hospital to seek treatment.

His son Bruce, who looked shell-shocked and failing to come to terms with the extent of the damage to the house, said they were not suspecting foul play.

He said his father was the only one injured after he got cut on the leg by broken glasses.

Domestic workers who witnessed the incident, said the fire started in Dr Chiyangwa's bedroom and quickly spread to other rooms.

"I was the first to notice the fire when I was by the gate after which I alerted others," said a security guard at one of the gates to the expansive mansion.

They said although Dr Chiyangwa was not at the property when the fire broke out, he stumbled on Fire guts Chiyangwa's Borrowdale mansion broken glasses as he tried to get into his bedroom, which was covered in thick smoke, to salvage important documents.

Calls to Dr Chiyangwa's mobile phone were picked by a Mr Stewart Ajisa, who said property worth thousands of dollars was damaged in the inferno.

"The fire was caused by an electrical fault and property worth a lot of money was destroyed," Mr Ajisa said.

"We are not suspecting any foul play," he said.

Charred curtains, shattered glasses, broken chandeliers and burnt out furniture could be seen strewn all over the area, after the fire brigade had managed to put out the fire.

An officer with the City of Harare fire brigade, Assistant divisional officer Herbert Chipidza, said they swiftly responded to a call and managed to douse the flames within a short period.

"According to our assessments, although it is not clear what could have caused the fire, we suspect an electrical fault," said Mr Chipidza.

"The rooms were blocked in smoke when we arrived, but we managed to put out the fire in about three to five minutes," he said.

By the time the fire brigade arrived, workers had put up ladders in an effort to extinguish the fire in the upper rooms of the double-storey mansion.

The workers said they were, however, overwhelmed by the inferno, which left considerable damage to the main bedroom, kitchen, lounge and a downstairs office.
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