Fire guts Mchesi furniture shops in LL Lilongwe, October 24, 2014: Fire razed down some Mchesi furniture shops in Lilongwe Thursday night destroying furniture and materials worth millions of kwacha. The incident comes barely three months after fire gutted the Tsoka Free Market and Standard Bank branch in Lilongwe in July and September respectively. According to Secretary for Mchesi Furniture and Welding Business Community, Geoffrey Kubwalo, the fire started at around 23:00 hours and it was allegedly caused by fire crackers blown by Asian businessmen who were partying next door. “I got a call at 11:29 pm that the shops were on fire and when I rushed here, a found that a lot of furniture and materials had been destroyed,” explained Kubwalo Thursday morning. He added: “I understand that the Asians next to these shops were having a party, throwing fire crackers in the air and the cracking fire landed on the heap of cotton here causing the shops to go up in flames.” Kubwalo was not clear on the monetary value of the goods destroyed, saying he needed time but he said the number of shops could be more than twenty. Infuriated by the incident, the shop owners closed the Mchesi Road with furniture that was not affected by the fire from the other side causing cars from both ends to turn back. But the unrest did not last long after the grieved shop owners calmed each other down and agreed to find alternative way to voice out their grief. All the Asian shop near the fire site were closed except one and an Asian businessman from the shop confirmed that they had a party indeed and that there were fire crackers but he denied the assertions that the fire was caused by the party fire crackers. “It’s true we had a party and there were fire crackers but an accident is an accident; the fire was not caused by the fire crackers,” said the businessman before referring this reporter to Kalaria, Chairperson of the Asian Business Community in Lilongwe. But like many shops in town on this Friday morning, Kalaria too was closed and could not be drawn to comment on the matter. Lilongwe Police confirmed the incident but they could not comment on the causes of the fire saying they were still investigating.
Posted on: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:57:05 +0000
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