Police and Ndola City Council say the cause of the fire at Kapalala Market in Masala Township, Ndola is not yet known.
Assorted goods worth thousands of Kwachas were destroyed on Tuesday night as fire swept through part of Kapalala Market which is located in Kabushi Constituency.
Fire fighters, who arrived at the scene after more than an hour, struggled to quench the spreading fire as traders and onlookers watched helplessly.
Ndola City Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mukaya Malwela said Council is still investigating the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage caused by the inferno.
“At the moment the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage is still being investigated,” Mr. Malwela said.
Meanwhile, Copperbelt Police Commanding Officer Sharon Zulu said police have instituted investigations into the fire incident to determine the cause and also to bring the culprits to book.
“Brief facts of the matter are that on 16/08/22 at about 20:30hrs fire started at an unknown point which later spread out to one side of the Market. The fire was later quenched by a combined team of fire fighters drawn from other fire stations based in Ndola, Luanshya and Kitwe. The cause of the fire is not yet known .Police have since instituted investigations into the matter to determine the cause and also to bring the culprits to book. The value of the destroyed properties is yet to be ascertained too. Meanwhile Police officers will continue guarding the premises to prevent the would be looters,” Ms. Zulu said.
Meanwhile, Ndola City Council has announced that over 1,200 traders have been affected by the fire that swept through the Kapalala Market.
Council Public Relations Manager Rebecca Mushota said the area which has been affected is the wholesale area for tomatoes, cassava, charcoal and some makeshift restaurants.
“Other places affected by the fire are the Masala Cultural Village which is next to the charcoal wholesale area and fences of a few houses which are also close to the affected areas. Preliminary investigations conducted by the Ndola Fire Brigade indicate that the fire started around 20:00 hours and is suspected to have emanated from one of the restaurants. The Fire Brigade was alerted at 20:50 hours and fire fighters arrived at the scene within four minutes. Fire fighters made frantic efforts to quench the fire which spread quickly because of the strong winds experienced last night as well as the trade shelters which were made of wood.The affected charcoal also fuelled the fire,” Ms. Mushota said.
“Fire fighting teams from Indeni, Luanshya Municipal Council, Kitwe City Council and the Zambia Airforce joined the Ndola City Council Fire Brigade while a Front-end loader was used to grade around the affected area to avoid the fire spreading to the rest of the wholesale depots and the rest of the market. The fire was put out around 02:00 hours. The Ndola City Council is grateful to all the fire fighting teams that combined efforts with the Ndola Fire Brigade to prevent further spread of the fire. It is however, regrettable that some members of the public stoned the Indeni fire fighting vehicle in the process. The Council sympathizes with the affected traders who have lost goods worth millions of Kwacha in the fire and is collaborating with the Copperbelt Province Administration and other stakeholders to ensure that displaced traders are supported by placing them in the newly constructed Kapalala Market as soon as possible,” Ms. Mushota said.
Kapalala Market was again gutted by fire in August, 2017.