Desmond Munemo, H-Metro Reporter
…Fire Brigade on the spotlight
Goods worth millions of dollars were lost in a fire that gutted a Harare shopping mall early yesterday morning.
The shopping mall at the corner of Robert Mugabe Way and Chinhoyi Street in the Central Business District went up in flames and the Fire Brigade was blasted for coming without enough water to put out the fire.
One of the operators, Mai Miriam, who lost a sewing machine worth US$490 said the Fire Brigade could have saved the other side of the building but preferred to extinguish the Chinhoyi Street side because it is adjacent to a Service Station.
“Fire Brigade yauya kuma 1am isina mvura kwavakudzokera and after and hour ndopavazouya nemvura.
“Tiri kurwadziwa, tasvika kuma 1am zvinhu zvedu zvisati zvatsva but ivo vakudira mvura kuti moto usaende ku service station,” she said.
H-Metro caught up with Harare Fire Brigade Divisional Officer Clever Mafoti who said they extinguished the fire while protecting the adjacent service station.
‘When we are putting out a fire, we look around and prioritise the use of the building like property and life.
“We had to protect adjacent buildings because there is a service station which could see fire spreading in the eventuality that the fire reached the place.
“The cause of the fire was not known since the whole building was totally gutted,” he said.
Mafoti took time to dispel speculations that the Fire truck arrived at the scene without water to extinguish the building.
“We received a call at 00:42 and we arrived at the scene at 00:47.
“Our guys then did not see any fire in the building until they opened one of the doors that is when the whole building caught up the fire.
“The fire was being compressed since there was no oxygen in the building then it was rejuvenated upon the opening of the door and the whole building was up in flames.
“It is difficult to ascertain the cause with the magnitude of the fire in the building.
“We are the first people to have adequate water in the City and we have over 10000 litres of water in our reservoirs.
“Each of our trucks carries a maximum of 1800 litres of water.
“We first had to assess the situation when we arrived at the building then we had to get our back up vehicle which has 8000 litres after we realized the fire was too much.
“We could not immediately get water from nearby fire points since the streets kids tamper with our equipment but we however managed to get one at corner Leopold Takawira Street and Robert Mugabe Way.
“Nothing was recovered and no one was injured,” said Mafoti.