Luwinga market gutted

Part of Luwinga market in Mzuzu was gutted by fire in the early hours of Monday  completely destroying nine shops and merchandise worth approximately MK4 million.

Malawi’s Vice President Khumbo Kachali, who was in Luwinga Industrial area, to commission a new Soap factory, went to inspect the damage and donated MK200,000 for the owners to rebuild their wooden stalls.

Eyewitness told Nyasa Timesthat the fire started around 4am but he exact cause is not known . Some owners suspect arson.

Gutted: Luwinga market. Photos by Collins Mtika/Nyasa Times

“On Sunday we erected DPP flags at our stall because Professor Peter Mutharika had a scheduled public rally  at the Mzuzu upper stadium and some people were annoyed with that . They threatened to deal with us.

“Because of that I stayed at my shop up to 3am guarding  and then I went home to sleep. But this morning somebody phoned me saying my shop has been razed. I cannot believe this,” said a tearful Kondwani Mbuge.

Mbuge lost property worth about MK400,000.

Luwinga Market Traders Secretary Robert Mbowe said other reports are showing that the fire might have been caused by charcoal brazier that was left by sachets imbibers.

Manchester Munthali the owner of Sesikifire Bar said one person was rushed to Mzuzu Central Hospital after sustaining burns and injuries.

Munthali said Allan Mkandawire who was working in one of the grocery shops sustained the burns and injuries when he forced open the shop to rescue some of the merchandise.

“Well-wishers had to pull Mkandawire out of the inferno as he was struggling to save part of the burning goods in the grocery,” he said.

He added that people around the market square were taken unawares and were alerted of the fire after it had razed down most of the structures.

Speaking in an interview, Mzuzu City Council Director of Administration, Victor Masina described the incident as unfortunate.

Masina who also said the cause of fire was still being investigated said there was need for city residents to call fire brigade through an emergency toll free line of 999 in case of emergency.

“The Council is so concerned with such losses which could have been minimized if a fire brigade was used to extinguish the fire. It is my appeal to the residents that each time there is fire outbreak they should use the toll free line of 999 to call for fire brigade,” he said.

Police in Mzuzu said they  are investigating the cause of fire.--(Additional reporting by Malawi News Agency)

The market in ashes
The Luwinga market razed down

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