A FIRE has swept through six offices at Inter-city bus terminus in Lusaka, damaging property belonging to bus owners and travellers.
The fire ravaged through the Euro bus, Juldan Motors, Peace Soldier and Jarazi offices where stacks of luggage for passengers and property for the bus owners are kept.
Two other offices belonging to transport operators were also affected.
The fire started around 01:00 hours yesterday, forcing various drivers of other busses to quickly drive away to avoid the inferno. Passengers also scampered for safety.
As the fire raged on, Lusaka City Council (LCC) fire-brigade arrived at the scene.
LCC public relations officer Brenda Katongola said the cause of the fire has not yet been established but investigations have been launched.
“The fire started in the early morning and six offices have been burnt and destroyed completely, we are not sure about what caused the fire but we are currently investigating the matter,” Ms Katongola said.
A check at the station found council and Inter-city officials salvaging from the debris after the fire had been put out, while the helpless passengers watched in disbelief.
An affected customer found at the scene complained that she had lost her property in the inferno.
“I have lost all my goods, I was going for business to the Copperbelt but now I am stuck and I don’t know what will happen,” Besta Phiri said while holding her hands up to her head, in grief.
“This is terrible, this is a very bad day for me, I don’t know,” Isaac Daka said. He was waiting to travel to Mpika.
Another eye-witness complained that while rescue efforts were progressing, others took advantage of the confusion and looted from shops housed at the station and stole various property from the burning offices.
Euro Buses director Kalenge Chomba said the fire had completely destroyed the office and the stationary that was being kept there.
“We also had some passengers who had some oranges and were expected to travel but everything has been burnt. We will sit down with the passengers to find a solution after their property was burnt,” Mr Chomba said.
Apart from the luggage at Euro, eye witnesses said the other transporters also lost substantial amounts of passengers’ luggage that was kept in their officers.
“There were so many things in the offices and I think some of the luggage that caught fire escalated it because the fire spread so fast that it almost caught onto one of the buses that were near,” Kalengo Mwansa, another witness said.
Another eyewitness, Leevins Lungu, said he saw flames coming out of a restaurant that was attached to the offices before the inferno quickly spread to the rest of the shelter.
“It is like there was a spark in the restaurant which ignited the fire, it spread very quickly to offices that are attached and within a short time, the entire building was on fire,” Mr Lungu.
[TIMES OF ZAMBIA]
PROPERTY worth thousands of Kwacha was in the early hours of yesterday burnt to ashes at Lusaka Intercity bus terminus in Lusaka after a fire swept through makeshift offices belonging to bus operators.
The cause of the fire has not yet been established.
Lusaka City Council (LCC) assistant public relations manager Brenda Katongola said the fire brigade was alerted about the fire around 01:00 hours.
Ms Katongola, who was flanked by Intercity bus terminus manager Penjani Chirambo, said four offices belonging to Euro-Africa, Juldan, Jerazo and Peace Soldier were completely gutted.
“We are glad that no life or bus was lost. Quick action by the combined team of firefighters from the airport and the Zambia Air Force controlled the situation,” Ms Katongola said.
Some of the items burnt include blankets, tickets and office equipment.
Officials from the affected bus operators were found scouring the rubble.
Lusaka City Council officers – Photo Credit Times of Zambia
Zambia Daily MaiL