Huge fire razes more than 150 homes, kills girl in DR Congo

2019-07-01 22:07
People rummage through rubble after a huge fire burned down dozens of houses and killed at least one person on the night between June 30 and July 1, 2019 in Bukavu, eastern DR Congo.

People rummage through rubble after a huge fire burned down dozens of houses and killed at least one person on the night between June 30 and July 1, 2019 in Bukavu, eastern DR Congo. (Ricky Ombeni)

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A massive fire that sparked in a house where a woman was frying donuts near cans of petrol has razed more than 150 homes in the eastern DR Congo, killing a seven-year-old girl, officials and residents said Monday.

The fire broke out Sunday evening in the city of Bukavu, where locals were celebrating the country's 4-0 African Cup of Nations victory over Zimbabwe. 

"The fire started in a house where a woman was preparing donuts and where a fuel seller kept at least 10 cans of petrol," civil protection official Aime Lubago told AFP.

Mayor Gerard Munyole of the Kadutu commune struck by the blaze said a child was killed, three people injured, and 159 homes burned down, leaving about 400 families roofless.

Another source said more than 200 homes were destroyed.

"We have nothing left. We spent the night under the stars, (me,) my six children and my wife," said 59-year-old victim Boaz Bahati.

President Felix Tshisekedi offered his "sincere condolences" to the family of the little girl, who he named as Furaha Mugisho Nakalonge. 

"I have also instructed those involved including local authorities to take the necessary preventative measures to avoid this disaster recurring," Tshisekedi wrote on the presidency's Twitter account.

A firetruck sent to the scene Sunday could not find its way through the tightly-packed maze of houses built in contravention of urban planning regulations, Lubago said.

Another fire razed dozens of houses in another Bukavu suburb last August.

Constructed on the flanks of hills overlooking Lake Kivu, the city is a densely populated mix of shacks and villas.

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