Disaster as massive fire burns down shopping mall in Harare CBD

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Traders at a shopping mall located at the intersection of Joseph Wilfred Msika Street and Fidel Castro Road in Harare suffered significant losses after a fire broke out, causing extensive damage to their goods.

The incident occurred yesterday, and the cause of the fire is yet to be determined. However, the owner of the complex believes that a gas leak from a canteen on the top floor may have been responsible.

Authorities, including the police and fire brigade, are currently conducting investigations to establish the cause of the fire and assess the extent of the damage. The affected items include clothing, cosmetics, food, gadgets, money, and blankets.

Mr. Denford Ngadziore, the Councillor for Ward 16 City of Harare, suggested that a gas explosion on the top floor of the building was the likely cause, given the fire’s origin and subsequent explosion. He emphasized the importance of obtaining licenses for the use of gas, particularly in business areas, to prevent such incidents.

Witnesses recounted that the fire began on the top floor. The fire brigade responded promptly, but faced challenges due to a lack of water, finally managing to extinguish the flames after 40 minutes.

Affected shop owners expressed their distress over the incident. Ms. Rejoice Mpofu, whose shop was her sole source of income, expressed her uncertainty about the future. Another shop owner, who preferred to remain anonymous, mentioned the burden of repaying a loan taken to start the business, now compounded by the loss of all their goods.

The fire’s impact was felt deeply by traders like Ms. Alice Nzirawo, who had stocked her shop with school uniforms for the back-to-school season. She described the situation as devastating. Mr. Bernard Runoda estimated his losses to be nearly US$15,000, leaving him devastated as he arrived at the scene to find everything burnt, despite the fire brigade’s efforts to prevent further damage.

This unfortunate incident has left the affected traders grappling with the aftermath, facing financial challenges and uncertain futures.

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