Basement fire prompts Joina City evacuation

HARARE - A fire that broke out in the basement of Spar Joina City yesterday morning prompted a temporary evacuation of the central mall, witnesses and officials said.

The smoky blaze broke out in the Joina City’s sub-basement just early yesterday morning.

No one was injured and officials said the fire was under control within about an hour — though several customers said their shopping were interrupted by the blaze.

The Harare Fire Brigade responded promptly to the emergency call by security details at the upmarket building.

Tendai Mavera, Joina City property manager, told the Daily News that preliminary investigations showed the fire started at the basement shop’s main switch which could point to an electrical fault.

He said fire detectors installed in the building had helped alert security details about the fire at the electricity distribution board belonging to Spar. That averted a tragedy.

Mavera, however, said he was still to get a full report on the extent of the damage but indicated that the Fire Brigade had responded swiftly and put out the fire before it caused extensive damage to property.

“I was notified of the fire around seven and I immediately rushed here,” he said. “The security guard told me the employees at Spar were just arriving for work when the fire started so no-one was injured.

“I am however, not aware if there is any property destroyed in the shop because we are still waiting to hear from them (Spar management) when they arrive.

“We have to thank the fact that our building has fire detectors that alerted the security in the control room. After an alarm went off inside the building, the security notified the Fire Brigade who responded promptly. The fire was extinguished but we are waiting for a report from Spar and the Fire Brigade.”

When the Daily News crew arrived at the scene, there were hundreds of people stampeding to catch a glimpse of what was taking place at the upmarket building.

An employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said there was an electrical fault on one of the supermarket’s fridges.

“It’s frightening my friend, there is nobody inside because we all rushed out after we heard the Fire Brigade sirens from inside and then we began to sense the smell of smoke coming from inside the building,” the employee said.

“We only realised the fire was coming from our shop when we were inside already.

“It could be one of the fridges inside which has an electrical fault and since last week it has affected about five of our colleagues and one of them had to be treated at Parirenyatwa Hospital after being shocked.”

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