An aggressive fire has gutted down Ekwendeni Main Market in Mzimba District destroying merchandises worth millions of kwacha.
The fire started just before 11pm on Monday and consumed a larger part of the market, which is along the Mzuzu-Karonga M1 Road, leaving many bread winners stranded.
The incident has reportedly also left a security guard working in the market dead after his blood pressure shoot up on seeing the vicious magnitude of the inferno.
An eye witnesses, Chawanangwa Kwaule told Nyasa Times in a telephone interview from the scene, several shops had been burnt to ashes despite efforts by some traders to extinguish the ravaging fire from spreading to more premises within the market.
“More than 100 shops have been razed with their property reduced to ashes. Right now some shop proprietors are busy removing the iron sheets with the hope of reconstructing their business shops,” narrated Kwaule.
He, however, said authorities were yet to ascertain the root cause of the fire although unconfirmed report indicates it originated from a shop that sells cooking oil.
Among the damaged shops include restaurants, hardware, groceries, boutiques and garments.
“But those situated very close to the road [M1], such as the Chipiku Stores, have survived,” he said.
According to Kwaule, the deceased was identified as a Mr Lungu, popularly known around the area as Achigayo and was residing behind Ekwendeni Council Rest House.
“The man was a security guard at the market and when the inferno broke out he rushed to inform one of the owners of the affected premises he knew.
“It is alleged on seeing the shops up in flames in an enormous state his BP [blood pressure] rose. He immediately collapsed and died in the process,” explained Kwaule.
Meanwhile, hell is reported to have broken loose at the scene after some irate traders and aggrieved community members tried to chase away a team of fire brigade from the Mzuzu City Council for coming late.
The people were angry with the team because it arrived two hours after the fire started and found some traders and well wishers wailing helplessly seeing the properties burn with very little to do.
Ekwendeni Market is about 15 kilometers away from Mzuzu City.
Reports say the fire brigade had no water in its engine and had to start searching for it after receiving the message of the accident.
But law enforcers came in good time to restore peace and order before the fire brigade successfully contained the blaze.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :