By Jameson Chauluka
Eight people were injured yesterday as fire gutted Leopard Match and Eshan Products offices at Ginnery Corner in Blantyre.
The fire raged for hours before it was contained late in the afternoon but, at that level, much of the damage had been done.
Eshan also houses Engineering and Foundry Works, Bottle plant, Carton Design and Soap Manufacturing departments.
Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital Director Sam Mndolo said the hospital had received eight people with various degrees of injuries.
“Out of the eight people we have received, we have admitted one,” he said.
An explosion from the inferno spread fragments, which injured one person at Industrial Steel Engineering Limited and also broke some windows at Pamodzi Park office complex.
Managers of the affected companies were not available for interviews but Ackson Ulaya, Operations Manager of Quick Reaction Security— which provides security to Eshan— said he noted the fire a few minutes before the explosion.
“I immediately informed everyone and, before long, the explosion occurred, spreading flecks of fire and fragments all over the place,” he said.
Southern Region Police spokesperson Ramsey Mushani said the cause of the accident and value of property damaged were yet to be established.
Malawi University of Science and Technology Mechanical Engineering lecturer Kent Fafatiya said a team of experts had to investigate the cause of the accident and come up with a report containing measures to minimise such accidents in future.
In general terms, Kafatiya said, there was a need for manufacturing offices to undergo routine maintenance checks.
The accident perhaps could have gone worse if it had spread to Petroda Main Depot, which stores fuel for the company.
Its sales and marketing manager Japhet Nkhata said it would have been disastrous had the fire reached their depot.
Fire also gutted Leopard Match offices in October 2019.