A GWANDA businessman lost goods and property worth over R1 million after a building that housed his grocery shop, bar and butchery built over 30 years was razed by a fire.
Mr Bekithemba Moyo, the proprietor of Sikhangezile Enterprises at Phakama Business Centre which housed a grocery shop, butchery, bar and restaurant said he was not aware what could have caused the fire.
Mr Moyo said he was still in shock and devastated as the business which he had built over the past 30 years had been destroyed.
He said when the incident occurred on Friday at about 2AM, he had just renovated the building and restocked his grocery shop in preparation for the festive season.
“I’m still in shock and I can’t believe that my business that I worked so hard to build is gone. It was my source of livelihood and I had invested so much in it. I started this business in 1987. I received a call on Friday at around 2AM that my shop was on fire. When I got there the fire had filled the entire shop and nothing could be salvaged,” he said.
“I lost goods and property with an estimated value of R1 million. The property which was inside included eight refrigerators, a four plate electric stove, a cold room, machinery for the butchery, furniture and stock which I had in the bar, butchery, restaurant and grocery shop. I had just come from Musina where I had gone to buy stock for the grocery shop and bar in preparation for the festive season. I had also recently done some renovations which included tiling the shop, repainting it and I had also installed new shelves.”
In an interview Gwanda Fire Brigade lead fire fighter, Mr Danny Sibanda said they received a report of the fire at around 2AM but it had reportedly started at around 1AM. He said according to investigations they conducted the fire was first spotted behind a refrigerator by some vendors who operate from the business centre.
Mr Sibanda said it started as a small flame and then there was an explosion which is suspected to have been caused by gas. He said the fire spread and when they arrived at the scene the entire shop was in flames and part of the roof had collapsed.
“We received the report late and when we arrived at the scene the entire shop was in flames. There were a lot of flammable substances in the shop which we believe contributed to the spread of the fire. We managed to contain the fire before it spread to neighbouring shops which are at the business centre. The cause of the fire is still not known and we couldn’t fully assess the scene as it had been tampered with by members of the public,” he said.
“We urge members of the public to always have emergency numbers so that they can report incidents on time and we can respond swiftly to avert damages.”
Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson, Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele said investigations were underway.