Another blast kills 3

HARARE - A deadly explosion yesterday hit Mt Hampden — about 20km northwest of Harare — ripping off a tobacco processing barn and killing three people.

One person sustained serious injuries.

The explosion left the small farm compound in grief as the three farm workers were ripped into pieces.

Pieces of flesh were strewn all over the area when the Daily News arrived at the scene yesterday afternoon.

The blast, which comes exactly two weeks after another deadly explosion in Chitungwiza which killed five people, was caused by an over-heated tobacco processing boiler, according to Phineas Whata the farm owner.

A shocked Whata told reporters the three workers, whose names have not been revealed, were curing tobacco in the barns in preparation for the auction season set to begin next month.

“This was caused by an overheated boiler which had no breathing space; the boiler is used to soften out cured tobacco.

“It seems the boiler was overheated with no room to release its pressure, in the end it exploded. This is disastrous, I am shocked,” said Whata.

National police spokesperson Andrew Phiri confirmed the disaster saying investigations were underway.

A visit to the farm compound located 20km west of Harare along the Chinhoyi highway revealed a sad story with farm workers and neighbours fast gathering to get a glimpse of the disaster.

Police officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Homicide and Law and Order sections were busy trying to find leads to the cause of the blast.

So powerful was the blast that victims’ flesh was scattered all over the area with domestic animals fighting for human flesh.

Some relatives of the deceased openly wept in shock, saying the death of their loved ones was hard to accept.

According to Whata, the boiler was installed a day before the explosion and was tested before being commissioned.

Fungai Petro, whose son died in the blast, said he had lost a breadwinner.

Fanwell Mufudze, one of the survivors of the explosion, said his colleagues had finished their duty and were about to leave the processing room when the boiler exploded. - Xolisani Ncube

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