…negligence leaves part of Chiwempala market in debris
By JOHN SAKALA
Part of Chiwempala market in Chingola has been gutted destroying goods worthy several thousands of Kwacha for the 26 shops.
The fire which has been attributed to negligence by some marketeers started around 02:00 hours this morning and was only put off to 04:00 hrs.
It swept through the hardware shops on the Eastern side of the market near the rail line including all the make shift restaurants.
Chiwempala Market Health Committee Chairperson Joseph Phiri said the inferno started from make shift restaurants which are made of offcuts timbers prone to fire.
Mr Phiri said though the cause of fire is not yet established, the primary suspicion is the brazier which could have been left unattended at the back of the market in the make shift restaurant.
“We have people who sleep here and we can’t suspect an outsider apart from ourselves. The sad part is that soon after the fire scavengers came to loot all metallic debris to sell as scrap metal,” he said.
He has appealed for unity as investigations are underway.
One of the victims Given Kabuswe said she was heartbroken because her well stocked shop worthy K150, 000 of hardware was brought down to the kneels by fire.
Ms Kabuswe who stays in Lulamba said she was called around 03:00 hrs that there was fire at the market.
She said only braziers had survived the inferno but have also been distorted by fire.
And Chiwemapala Market Committee chairperson for Community Crime Prevention Unit Willy Sinyiza who was at the market at the time when fire started, said fire came from nowhere and swept through the market.
Mr Sinyiza said fire started from the offcuts shops and spread to all containerized shops.
The sad part is despite the Chingola Municipal Council Fire station being a stone throw away, fire officers were fast asleep and could hardly hear several awakening calls on the door.
The inferno was only put off soon after Konkola Copper Mines Fire Tenders reinforced the Council.