Inferno Leaves Punyu Family Destitute

The family of the late northern millionaire Jairus ‘Punyu’ Shikale were left practically destitute after their luxurious home at Onethindi was partially gutted by fire on Saturday afternoon.

“It was dark and smoky all over, one could hardly see anything outside. Even the police had a hard time controlling the movement of people and cars on the Onandjokwe road where the house is situated,” said an eyewitness. The widow of the late Punyu and owner of the house, Abia Shikale, told New Era fortunately there was no loss of life, since there were no people at home when the fire broke out except for the caretaker who was luckily in the part of the house that was not affected so severely. “I was not at home, I was visiting Oshaakondwa when neighbours called to inform me that my house was on fire. There were no lives lost in the fire, because the caretaker who was the only person at home was in another part of the house,” she said. According to Shikale the cause of the fire is still unknown, but related to New Era on Saturday afternoon that when she got home the ceilings of the western part of the house were in ashes and there was smoke coming from the eastern windows of the house.

Another eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity said the fire was so intense that the Ondangwa fire brigade ran out of water while battling the inferno. To compound matters the brigade was overwhelmed by the sheer size and intensity of the fire and had to call for assistance from he Oshakati and Ongwediva fire brigades, who responded promptly to help put out the fire.

“Our lungs must be very black, the fire was so scary. The Ondangwa fire brigade ran out of water and had to rush to get extra water to put out the fire,” related a shocked eyewitness. Despite the intensity of the fire and the destruction caused the family was able recover a few items from the relatively unaffected part of the house. The police also cordoned off the house, but were unable to control the throng of people, including close relatives who showed up to lend a helping hand in putting out the fire. Although the fire is believed to have started at around 13h00 it could not be extinguished completely and was still raging three hours after it had started.

Source : New Era