Fire razes vegetable market in Byo

Vendors operating at a fruit and vegetable market along Robert Mugabe and 8th Avenue in Bulawayo were left counting their losses when six stalls caught fire.

The incident occurred around 10 pm on Monday.

When CITE visited the market on Tuesday morning, the affected vendors were clearing the rubble.  

“We received a call from someone who is in Gweru telling us that our markets caught fire, but our security personnel didn’t call us. We came here around 12 midnight and the fire brigade had already put out the fire,” said one vendor.

Another vendor added that the security guard told them that the fire started from one of the stalls and quickly spread to the others.

Contacted for a comment, Bulawayo acting chief fire officer Linos Phiri said the fire brigade managed to talk to four witnesses who indicated that the fire might have been caused by a mosquito coil that was left unattended.

“Brigade observed that fire started from one stall and spread to the other five stalls. The fire was being accelerated by polythene sheets used to cover vendors’ wares,” said Phiri.

He said there was also a lot of other food staff stored at the vending stalls which included cooking oil, rice, macaroni, fizz drinks, and other food items.”

Phiri said the fire brigade also noted the presence of several matches boxes in the vending stalls.

“There were also sanitizers which acted as accelerants as well in propelling the fire. The rate of spread indicated that the distress call delayed reaching the fire service despite the incident scene situated in the nose of the call center,” said Phiri.

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