PROPERTY worth an estimated $500 000 was reduced to ashes when one of the top flea markets in Bulawayo, Unity Village, was gutted by fire last Thursday.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
The blaze came after more property worth over $200 000 was destroyed in July when Empire House — a block away from Unity Village — was also gutted by fire.
Chairperson of the flea market, Siphokuhle Sibanda, said the informal traders did not know what caused the fire.
“There was fire around 9:35pm on Thursday and basically everything was reduced to ashes with more than 40 stands burnt down, including part of our restaurant. In terms of stock, we are estimating a loss of over half a million dollars. Each stand carries an average stock worth $10 000,” she said.
“The fire department and police are still investigating the cause of the fire. The fire department came on time, but when they arrived here, they could not find where to connect their water pipes. They ended up connecting some two blocks away.”
Sibanda said most of their structures were made from plastic and the goods, mostly clothing and shoes, were highly flammable.
“Everything that we have worked for has been reduced to ashes. So maybe we will end up borrowing money to help us restock. We are starting from scratch,” she said.
Acting Bulawayo chief fire officer Edward Mpofu said he was not at the office, and promised to call back, but had not done so by the time of going to print.