Fire guts timber worth millions; one dead in Mbarara City

MBARARA – Dozens of traders lost property worth millions on Monday October 25th, 2021 after a fire engulfed timber traders near Mbarara Bus Park in Mbarara City.

The fire, that is believed to have started at around 2:00 am on Monday, also destroyed vehicles and several other kiosks near the bus park along Akiki Nyabongo road, that employed a huge population in the city.

Locals and the business community rushed to the scene to save their property but could not stop the wild flames from burning most of their properties including mattresses, and timber molding machines to ash.

Kiiza Joab, one of the witnesses confirmed that the unfortunate fire outbreak burnt one of the workers identified as Ssenkuba Kaboyi alias Sonko to death out of the 15 people who were reported to be residing in the workshop kiosks.

Locals also blamed police for failing to have enough resources to put off such fire in the city.

“We called police but the fire brigade was grounded until one from Bushenyi came to our rescue,” one of the traders complained.

Robert Kakyebezi, the City Mayor said, it was unfortunate for the traders but appealed to the government to provide the city with a standby fire brigade car for such future misfortunes.

“What has happened is unfortunate to the city especially those trading in timber. I ask police and the central government that we need to have a new standby fire brigade vehicle in Mbarara to prevent any other eventualities in our area rather than waiting to call in other districts for help,” Kakyebezi emphasized.

Lt Col James Mwesigye also advised Mbarara City Council to gazette a place outside the town vicinity for traders dealing in furniture and mechanics to prevent further damages in future.

“My advice to council is that next time, they should remove the timber business out of town or else they risk burning the whole town of Mbarara because it’s difficult to put out fire that comes from timber,” Mwesigye said.

By press time, the fire brigade team was still putting off the fire. When our reporter called the Police Spokesperson, SP Samson Kasasira, to confirm the damages and cause of the fire; his known phones were off.

However, SSP Collins Kaganzi, a police commander in charge of Field Force Unit (FFU) said, his team swung into action late in the night to prevent more damages to the neighboring businesses such as fuel stations and other commercial buildings.

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