By STEPHEN KAPAMBWE -
INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day celebrations turned tragic for a Lusaka family when fire burned down their house in Rhodes Park residential area.
The fire destroyed all household property worth thousands of Kwacha at the guest wing of house number 4, Great East Road, including foodstuffs which were stored in the living room.
No one was in the building at the time of the inferno.
A visibly shaken Olipa Banda said she was part of the International Women’s Day marching procession on Great East Road near the Manda Hill traffic lights when she and other people noticed clouds of thick, black smoke billowing from the direction of her residence.
Upon rushing to the property with a number of onlookers who included police officers and military personnel who were participating in the festivities, she found it was actually her house that was on fire.
Firefighters who rushed to the scene said they had received a distress call around 09:00 hours about the fire.
By the time they arrived at the scene, part of the roof had already started curving in while the windows were shattered due to the intensity of the blaze.
Although the two fire engines that were deployed put out the fire, the efforts of the fire brigade could not save the electric appliances, furniture, foodstuffs and other household properties that had already been reduced to ashes.
Lusaka City Council assistant public relations manager Brenda Katongola said the fire brigade was notified late but managed to arrive on the scene promptly and put out the fire.
Ms Katongola, however, said the property had been burnt by the time the fire brigade arrived.
Lusaka Province commissioner of police Lemmy Kajoba confirmed receiving a report, although he did not have details on the cause of the fire.