'Mysterious' fires gut properties

HARARE - Properties worth tens of thousands of dollars have been destroyed in the last two days following fire accidents which authorities were still investigating by end of day yesterday.

This comes as the country has been experiencing hot spells which experts said could act as agents for serious blazes if unsecured electrical cables or gases were exposed to the heat.

The Environmental Management Agency (Ema) yesterday said it was still investigating the causes of accidental fires which ravaged business premises in Harare and Kadoma on Monday and yesterday, respectively.

Property worth thousands of dollars, not for the first time, was destroyed by fire at the Willowvale home industries in Glen View on Monday afternoon.

The site has had numerous fire accidents in the last three years and the latest blaze has left indigenous furniture makers plying their trade there with more questions than answers.

Yesterday another fire gutted property which included cars at Magaba’s Siyaso area in Mbare.

The Harare Fire Brigade moved swiftly to contain the fire but could not salvage some of the property, which had been extensively damaged when it arrived on the scene.

Harare City Council corporate communications manager Michael Chideme said they were yet to establish the causes of the fires.

However, eyewitnesses said it had been caused by illegal smelters who left their equipment unattended when the owner of the premises they had “invaded” arrived without notice.

Ema’s spokesperson Rambwayi Mapako told the Daily News yesterday the agency was on the ground investigating the causes of both the Glen View and Mbare fires.

“Our team is on the ground investigating the causes of yesterday’s (Monday) fire in Glen View and today’s (yesterday’s) in Mbare.

“We encourage both the formal and informal sector to team up on waste management plans to assure that not much damage occurs in the event of a fire.  In the case of Glen View, they were dealing with flammable materials which can easily catch fire and worsen the situation,” Mapako said.

Meanwhile, a huge inferno whose origins were yet to be established, destroyed Edgars, Jet and Coloursell shops in Kadoma on Monday evening.

“At present we are not sure what caused the fire because it started from another shop. We are yet to assess the extent of the damage, I am actually travelling to the site as we speak,” said Coloursell owner, Tich Mharadze who also bemoaned the current hot spells in the country.

Edgars Stores said it was not in a position to comment as its managing director was out of office until today.

Last Thursday, 42 people were burnt beyond recognition, while 26 others were seriously injured when the bus they were travelling in caught fire and exploded near West Nicholson.

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