Fire in the early hours of Wednesday destroyed about 19 shops and over 29 benches at Limbuli old market in Mulanje District.
An eye witness, Chenjezo Thom, the fire started after a spark erupted at an electric pole that lit shops next to it and spread to the other shops.
“I saw a spark at the electric pole and in no time the shops next to it were in flames. We hurried to wake-up the owners of the shops who stay nearby so that we could put out the fire,” he said.
They managed to put out the fire at around 4am in the morning.
Limbuli market chairman, Anthony Limitedi, whose shop was also among those destroyed by the fire said millions of kwacha had been destroyed.
“We have lost a lot of property worth millions. We are now hopeless as the shops were our only source of income. We hope that government will come in and assist us,” he lamented.
Mulanje District Disaster Management Affairs Desk Officer, Keth Sayenda told the victims, when a team from the council went to assess the damage, that as council they would compile and forward a report to DoDMA and then map the way forward on how to assist them.
He, however, advised the business owners to find better ways of alerting people when incidents like fire breakouts occur.
“The time fire breaks out is the time to start putting it out. In this scenario I would urge business owners to find better means of alerting other people while those who have seen the breakout are putting it out,” he said.
This fire breakout follows other fire incidences at Mulanje View Motel and Providence Girls Secondary school last year.