FIRE gutted about two thirds of the Glen View Area 8 Home Industry Complex along Willowvale Road in Harare yesterday, destroying property worth millions of dollars belonging to informal traders.
This was the third time the complex has been gutted by fire this year.
The fire reportedly started at around 2pm and traders battled to put it out and salvage some of their wares.
The Harare Fire Brigade arrived within 15 minutes of the fire breaking out with two fire tenders.
The tenders, however, quickly ran out of water while their usual source, the nearby stream, was contaminated with oil, while the whole of Glen View was dry.
So aggressive was the blaze that it consumed most of the goods, forcing traders to sift through ashes for remnants.
Harare Fire Brigade divisional officer Mr Clever Mafoti said they contained the fire from reaching the nearby Engen Service Station and save the remaining part of the complex.
“We had the fire and prevented it from reaching the service station knowing that there are highly inflammable fuels and that people’s lives would have been endangered if it had reached the service station,” he said.
“The fire has razed about two thirds of the complex. We also prevented the fire from reaching other parts of the complex which were not affected. It was a recommendation that in the complex there be fire points and fire extinguishers, but they are yet to put some,” said Mr Mafoti.
“It seems as if they are still working on some logistics to put some overhead tanks and some hydrants. I think after this scenario, they might take it seriously and implement the recommendations.”
City of Harare spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme blamed what he called “space barons” operating at the complex for denying council access to fix amenities like roads and inspect and install fire hydrants.
“We need to draw lessons from this unfortunate incident where genuine traders have property worth thousands of dollars up in smoke because space barons have not allowed council access into the complex,” he said.
“These space barons have been collecting money from the operators. It is high time that individuals who have been benefiting from council land come in and assist in funding the rehabilitation of the complex and set up structures.”
Mr Chideme appealed to the Government to join council in restoring order at the complex.