Fire guts Blantyre Flea Market
Fire destroyed property worth millions of kwacha at Blantyre Flea Market on Tuesday night.
The fire destroyed fruit and vegetable section which also houses other merchandise.
Blantyre City Vendors Association Chairperson, Charles Mwale, said the cause of the fire is yet to be established.
“People who were around say they saw a spark and a huge fire broke out,” he said.
“Millions have been burnt. Millions have been lost. This is our source of income and we don’t know where to start from again. We hope that well-wishers and the government will come in and assist us so that life goes on.”
Blantyre City Central Ward Councillor, Chidika Nyimba, said he was concerned with the loss of the property.
He said Blantyre City Council (BCC) would do all it can to bring the affected vendors back on their feet.
“This is where our colleagues earn their living. When we go back to the council, we will see how else we can assist them with soft loans so that they can pick themselves up again,” he said.
A statement from BCC released Wednesday says the fire damaged eight shops, two toilet blocks, market master’s office and vegetable section.
“We will be waiting for the official report from Malawi Police Service and other stakeholders on the cause of the fire so we can prevent similar incidents from happening in the future,” the statement reads.
Former president Hastings Kamuzu Banda opened Blantyre Market in 1972.
The fire follows other fire accidents at the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale’s house in Chileka and Leopard Matches Limited factory in Blantyre in the past few days.
Earlier this year, fire razed down part of Mzuzu Market, Grand and Grill Bar along M1 Road in Chirimba, Blantyre.
Alarmed by the extent of the damage, President Peter Mutharika instituted a ministerial committee to establish the causes of market fires after Mzuzu and Tsoka flea markets in Lilongwe which established that arson and carelessness caused such accidents.
The committee also established that between 2004 and 2014, the fires destroyed property worth K16 billion and recommended construction of modern markets.