One patient has died while 26 others survived when a male ward caught fire Tuesday night at Zomba Mental Hospital, police have confirmed.
Zomba Mental Hospital (ZMH) Director Immaculate Chamangwana confirmed that they have lost one patient identified as Raymond Chipeta,32 of Ezondweni village Traditional Authority T/A Mtwalo in Mzimba district.
Shesaid the fire started from a Sluice room where they keep dirty linen before they take them for laundry.
‘’We received a report from one of our nurses, Steve Majawa who was on duty last night that one of the male wards had caught fire around 11 pm. We tried to rescue 26 out of 27 patients in that particular ward and later noticed that one of them was completely burnt inside the sluice room where the fire seems to have originated from,”explained Chamangwana.
She said the hospital management reported immediately to Zomba City Council Fire Fighters, the Police and ESCOM officials for assistance as they were trying to evict other patients to rehabilitation ward.
“The fire fighters from Zomba City Council arrived earlier to stop the fire extending to other buildings and managed to reduce extent of damages.
“After having met with all concerned officers from Police, ESCOM and Officials from Mental Hospital at Postmortem meeting, the Fire Officer,Lodias Sendaluzi suspected that the patient may have had something which he used to start the fire since the room has no socket but only a light bulb far up the roof.”
He said his office has experience a similar case where one of the patients at the facility set fire on the mattress using matches she was keeping through her private parts.
The body of the late Reymond Chipeta was taken to Zomba Central Hospital Mortuary.
No any other damage has been reported apart from the loss of the patient, beddings from sluice room and damage of part of the building.
Reports from ZCC Fire Department indicates that this is the second fire accident after the first one which took place two years ago when a female patient at the facility set fire on her mattress during the day.
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