Fire guts Huye carpentry workshop

A CARPENTRY WORKSHOP in Kinazi Sector in Huye District, valued at about Rwf25 million, was on Saturday reduced to ash in a morning fire.

A CARPENTRY WORKSHOP in Kinazi Sector in Huye District, valued at about Rwf25 million, was on Saturday reduced to ash in a morning fire.

The fire, at the business centre commonly known as ‘Arreté’, broke out in the wee hours of Saturday, destroying machines, unprocessed wood, finished products and the entire building that housed it.

The workshop was not insured.

Schadrack Mpungirehe, the owner of the workshop, told The New Times that he was called at around 4.20am to be informed of the outbreak.

“When I arrived, I found people trying to battle the fire but it was so vicious that efforts to put it out were fruitless,” Mpungirehe said, fighting back tears.

“My future is now bleak and broken,” he added.

“When we arrived, the workshop was already up in flames and we failed to contain the fire which was extremely violent. It was impossible to salvage some of the products inside,” said Anastase Mucyo, one of the residents.

By press time, the cause of the fire remained unknown and authorities said investigations were ongoing.

However, some residents told this newspaper that the fire might have been caused by a short circuit.

Huye mayor Eugene Kayiranga Muzuka, who visited the scene yesterday, advised business owners to insure their property to avoid losses that come with fire accidents.

He also cautioned against the use of substandard products, particularly electrical cables and materials, because they pause serious security risks to buildings and human life.

The fire comes at a time when government is intensifying efforts to enforce regulations on fire safety though the public has been blamed to be taking the regulations with laxity.

Under the regulations, issued in July, owners of buildings are required to use durable construction materials and equipping them with necessary fire-fighting equipment such as extinguishers, smoke detectors, emergency exits, CCTV cameras and fire hydrant, especially for commercial structures.

The instructions were issued following a spate of fire outbreaks that gutted several buildings across the country, including shops, medical facilities, bars, prisons and private residences, among others, causing billion of losses.

Since 2011, over 320 fire outbreaks have been registered across the country, making fire the most common disaster in the country, according to available figures.

Poor wiring and the use of substandard electric cables has been cited as the major causes of fire outbreaks in the country.