A fierce fire on Saturday threatened the security at Mzuzu State Lodge where it gutted part of a forest within the premises.
The Daily Times crew rushed to the State lodge at around 15.45 where it met heavily armed police officers who were deployed to put out the fire.
As the law enforcers rushed to the scene, police vehicles caught people’s attention, among them, residents of Songwe Township which is close to Mzuzu State Lodge,.
There was drama as scores of police officers tried to put out the fire using branches of small trees after firefighters from Mzuzu City Council arrived at the scene around 16.20 to help stop the fire which started around 2pm.
Meanwhile, Director of State Residences, Peter Mukhito, confirmed receiving reports about the fire, adding that it started from the nearest community forest and crossed the boundaries into the lodge’s area.
But Mukhito said all was in order as the deployed police officers extinguished the fire which firebreaks failed to control.
“I have heard about the fire but don’t worry because everything is in order. No property has been destroyed apart from few trees within the premises. However, what I know is that State houses are protected by firebreaks. I am surprised why the fire managed to cross firebreaks into the protected area. We have heard that police officers that were deployed have done a commendable job,” said Mukhito.
He added: “I am told the communities close to the State lodge started the fire. I can’t say much on the extent of the fire because I am in Lilongwe but still more such should not be allowed to happen because these premises are protected. That is where the State President lodges when he is in the Northern Region. But all in all, the situation has normalized.”
One of the residents of Songwe Township, whose house is barely 100 metres away from the lodge, Tony Kamanga, said the fire started around 2pm from the field close to the protected land and it quickly spread into the lodge premises because of the wind. Kamanga could not tell who started the fire.
Kamanga said: “As I was crying for my small trees over there which have been destroyed by the same fire, I noticed that the fire was spreading to the State lodge. It is then I called my neighbour to rush and report to police because that was dangerous, considering that it is where our President lodges.”
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