PROPERTY worth $2 887 000 was destroyed when a fire, suspected to have been ignited by an electrical fault, engulfed Hartzel High School on the outskirts of Mutare, last Saturday. The fire gutted a block that housed eight classrooms and the deputy headmaster’s office, a textile and design block, food technology and design and book storeroom for Forms One and Two streams.
An assortment of school furniture was also destroyed in the fire.
No one was injured in the inferno, but about 376 students who relied on the classrooms were left stranded after being left without a roof over their heads and furniture to sit on.
Hartzel is owned by the United Methodist Church, and is ranked as one of the institutions revered for producing numerous eminent personalities in the country.
Hartzel headmaster Mr Shorwi Kawadza was at loss of words when contacted for comment following the incident that virtually disrupted learning and left his admin in a quandary on how to raise financial and material resources to reconstruct the damaged infrastructure before schools open for the second term in May.
Mr Kawadza said the situation at the school was dire and appealed for funds to purchase some books and fast-track the reconstruction of the razed properties.
“We are appealing for help for the reconstruction of the destroyed school properties. The damaged property is estimated at $2,9 and there is no way we can go it alone as a school,” he said.
“Our students were left stranded after the fire. We need urgent assistance so that by the time schools open for the second term in May, some of the infrastructure would have been refurbished and ready to house them for lessons. We would also welcome temporary structures where students can learn from,” he said.
Mr Kawadza said the cause of the fire and real extent of the damage was still being investigated by forensic experts as they are yet to submit a full report.
Officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education have visited the school to assess the extent of the damage.
The Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba also visited the school.
She asked the school authorities to submit a report that would be used to solicit donations to give the school a lift.
“I requested that the headmaster writes a report, quantify the damage and do some costing so that we can present the bill to the authorities and see the kind of intervention that both the Government and well-wishers can make,” she said.