Furniture shops in Makerere-Kavule, Kampala, suffered a devastating loss on Monday as a fire engulfed the area causing property damage valued in millions of shillings.
Amid the chaos, onlookers witnessed desperate attempts by shop owners to salvage their belongings. People dashed with buckets of water, others carried chairs, and any available item to combat the relentless flames.
Heartbreaking scenes unfolded as traders, some of whom had taken loans to invest in their businesses, helplessly watched their hard-earned assets turn to ashes. Despite the timely arrival of the police fire brigade and rescue services, significant damage had already occurred.
Bukenya Frank, a trader who lost all eight of his tailoring machines, revealed that the fire originated from a colleague’s welding activity. Sparks from the welding caught onto the materials, including mattresses used in making chairs, initiating the destructive blaze.
Abdul-Noor, operating a shop in a nearby building, corroborated the account, emphasizing that the warnings against welding were ignored. In just five minutes, the fire rapidly spread, leaving traders with little time to react.
Expressing the magnitude of his loss, Bukenya stated, “I have not saved anything; I have lost everything, and it’s not just me.”
To control the blaze, the police deployed over 13 trucks, even extending their efforts to prevent it from spreading to neighboring buildings.
Kampala Metropolitan spokesperson Patrick Onyango confirmed that investigations into the fire had commenced. A collaborative team, involving forensics, the national building review board, and other relevant authorities was formed to aid in the thorough examination of the incident.