Midnight fire burns down ESCOM House: Property worth millions of Malawi kwacha lost

Property worth millions of Kwacha including essential revenue documents has been ravaged in a fierce fire that has razed part of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) House.

Situated along the Haile Selassie road in Blantyre’s central business district, the gutted two-story building seats ESCOM’s head offices.

The fire, which started just after midnight, is suspected to have originated from the revenue and accounts section before spreading to other offices of the ground floor.

The entire ground floor, where ESCOM customers used to pay their bills and buy electricity units, among others, has completely been reduced to ashes.

Blantyre Police Spokesperson Elizabeth Divala said the cause of the fire has not yet been established.

Sympathisers viewing the remains of the  Escom house

Sympathisers viewing the remains of the Escom house

The police spokesperson said the inferno has caused extensive damage but could not quantify the value. Nothing has been rescued from offices on the ground floor.

“We can’t say how much has been damaged at the moment. ESCOM and Police are currently conducting investigations to find out the cause of the fire as well as how much has been destroyed,” said Divala.

The fire brigade team responded swiftly with two vehicles and worked throughout the night to break the blaze from attacking top floors.

However, besides the ground floor few other offices on the first floor have also been burnt.

Meanwhile, ESCOM Spokesperson, Kitty Chingota, has assured clients that their electricity accounts are still safe and anything to do with bills will temporarily be handled at their Chichiri Shopping Mall offices.

And speaking at a news conference Escom Chief Executive John Kandulu  said they have a back-up system which has all information pertaining to customer’s accounts following fire that gutted the ground floor of Escom House in Blantyre.

The news conference at Escom Power Station  was also graced by Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola and Minister of Information and Civic Education Brown Mpinganjira.

The incident comes at a time when the civil society and other concerned people are calling for the parastatal to be probed following its K1.4 billion expenditure on a 33 new fleet of top-of-the-range vehicles purchased for its bosses.

Nyasa Times’ head of News in Malawi, Lucky Mkandawire, captured the incident after fire had already been extinguished.

ESCOM House.

ESCOM House.

The revenue and accounts offices where fire is believed to have originated from

The revenue and accounts offices where fire is believed to have originated from

The damaged offices where customers used to pay their bills and buy electricty units

The damaged offices where customers used to pay their bills and buy electricty units

An ESCOM security guard passes through the ruins

An ESCOM security guard passes through the ruins

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