An inferno in the early hours of today swept through a storage house and about 27 stalls at Riverside Market in Kapiri Mposhi Town destroying merchandise worth over K 400, 000.
The burnt merchandise included bales of second hand clothes, grains, groceries and farm produce belonging to marketeers.
The cause of the inferno which started around 03:00 hours today is not yet established.
A check at the market around 06:00 hours found affected marketers and dozens of people salvaging through their burnt merchandise.
Joseph Silungwe, a security guard at the market, who reported the fire break out to police around 03:00 hours revealed that the Council Fire Brigade only managed to arrive to the scene about 25 minutes after the shops had completely already ignited.
” As I was patrolling I just saw a huge flame of fire so I alerted some people who sleep in the stores to wake up and I called the police but the fire brigade only responded after about 25 minutes,” Mr Silungwe said.
And the affected traders have appealed to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) to come to their aid.
One of the marketers, Samuel Sichone said he has lost 12 bags of popcorn and groundnuts adding that all his capital has gone to waste.
Another Trader, Beatrice Musonda, a second hand clothes trader, says she has lost merchandise worth over K 20,000 in the fire.
” I just ordered new clothes to be sold and they are all gone I don’t know we’re to start from this is all I had,” Ms Musonda said.
Kapiri Mposhi Central Ward Councilor, Ronald Simwanza says 27 shops and merchandise worth over K 400, 000 have been destroyed in the fire.
” We have received information from most of the marketers on the worth of goods they kept in the storage and shops which is coming to around K 400,000 altogether and this is a disaster,” Mr Simwanza said at the scene.
Meanwhile, Kapiri Mposhi District Commissioner who equally rushed to the scene later in the company of police and council officials said that investigations have been launched into the cause of the fire.
Mr Hasalama said the government is compiling the list of all affected marketers for generation of the report.
The DC appealed to the affected marketers to remain patient as police investigates the matter.
” The cause of the fire is not known but police are investigating the matter and for now that’s where we are,” Mr Hasalama said.
Efforts to get a comment from Central Province Police Commanding Officer Dennis Moola failed by reporting time.