Traders count losses as late night fire guts Muhanga shops

A FIRE BROKE OUT in Muhanga District in the wee hours of Tuesday morning destroying property worth millions of francs.
Traders try to salvage some of the property burnt in the late night fire yesterday. (Jean Pierre Bucyensenge)
Traders try to salvage some of the property burnt in the late night fire yesterday. (Jean Pierre Bucyensenge)

A FIRE BROKE OUT  in Muhanga District in the wee hours of Tuesday morning destroying property worth millions of francs.

The late night fire that broke out at around 2:30am gutted the newly constructed three-storey commercial complex located   in Muhanga town along the Kigali-Butare highway.

Eyewitnesses said the inferno originated from one of the shops before  spreading to the others. It was contained by Police fire-fighters hours later.

The exact value of the destroyed property was yet to be established by press time.

When The New Times visited the area yesterday morning, onlookers stood in shock in front of the charred building.

Traders who lost their merchandise were pessimistic about their immediate future. One of them, only identified as Bosco, told The New Times that his stock was not insured.

“It will be hard for me to recover from this loss,” the distraught trader said.

However, the owner of the building, Viateur Ruberandinda, said he had insured the complex his house and expects compensation from his insurer.

The cause of the fire remains unknown, Police said.

The Southern Region Police Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent, Hubert Gashagaza, urged traders to insure their properties to avoid unrecoverable losses.

Over the past three months, more than 10 major fire outbreaks have been reported around the country, killing some people and destroying properties worth billions of francs.

This has consequently  raised concerns over the country’s preparedness and capacity to manage the infernos.

A taskforce was instituted to investigate the fires and come up with a strategy to avert them. It is yet to give its report.

However, an earlier audit into the fires that occurred since 2011 concluded that poor wiring and use of substandard electric cables were the major causes of fire outbreaks in the country.

As part of measures to respond to the spate of fire outbreaks, Police announced in July that six fire fighting vehicles will arrive before the end of the year and that another 10 were expected early next year.

The equipment will be stationed across the country to ease responsiveness.

 

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