HUYE — Police in Butare town are investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed property worth millions of francs on Monday night. The extent of the hour long fire could not be established at the time of going to press, but not much was left of the tailoring shop.
The shop that is located behind Matar Supermarket – a busy shopping area in the town, was closed by the time the fire started. No one was hurt in the incident.
According to the Ngoma Police Station Commander, Inspector Adolphe Nyagatare investigations into the cause of the fire are still ongoing. He however ruled out arson.
“Preliminary investigations indicate that there was no criminal intent. We have several leads and soon we will be able to establish the actual cause of the fire,” said Nyagatare.
Jean Kajala Kalisa, the station manager of the water and electricity utility ELECTROGAZ, also ruled out the possibility of an electric short circuit as the cause of the fire.
“It is not possible that an electric short circuit could have sparked the fire. Our electricity meters at the station show no indication of any anomaly,” said Kalisa.
The late evening fire brought to the fore the lack of disaster management of businesses and local authorities. Most of the fire extinguishers were out of order. Even at the three petrol stations in the town centre none had sound fire fighting equipment.
Residents desperately used motorcycle and car fire extinguishers to try and put out the blazing fires, but all in vain.
“This was disaster waiting to happen,” complained an angry businessman, ‘districts should mobilise resources and put up sound standby fire fighting equipment otherwise we are in for much bigger surprises,” he warned.