Bible House on hellfire
Published On February 8, 2017 » 3790 Views» By Administrator Times » HOME SLIDE SHOW, SHOWCASE
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By CHUSA SICHONE –
A ravaging fire has left Lusaka’s Bible House extensively damaged in another instance that once again exposed the capital city’s lack of preparedness to deal with a major fire incident.
The council-managed Fire Brigade was first on the scene at the north-end of Freedom Way but, unable to find a working water hydrant nearby, ended up having to make a few trips back to its offices on Church road to refill its bowser, a time-consuming exercise given the high level of traffic on the route.

•THICK black fumes, as Bible House on Lusaka’s Freedom Way catches fire, attracting curious onlookers yesterday.Picture by CHUSA SICHONE

•THICK black fumes, as Bible House on Lusaka’s Freedom Way catches fire, attracting curious onlookers yesterday.Picture by CHUSA SICHONE

In the end, it took six fire tenders, the Zambia Air Force and the Zambia National Airports Corporation Limited having been summoned to help, to put out a fire that raged for hours on the two-storey building located next to a filling station.
In a week in which Lusaka has experienced almost unremitting rainfall, this was the one day that a heavy downpour would have been a blessing from heaven.
It didn’t happen but it was still a miracle that the inferno did not extend to the filling station nor spread to adjoining buildings that house a host of motor-vehicle spare parts dealers stocking all manner of inflammable merchandise.
The fire, which started around 10:00hours was still raging around 14:30hours with business on that end of one of the busiest streets in the central business district brought to a standstill and scores of onlookers gathering to watch the firemen struggle with the blaze.
An electrical fault was believed to have sparked the fire, which damaged property worth thousands of Kwacha.
Some nearby shop owners, alerted to the danger, tried to empty their shops as quickly as they could but some were not so lucky, reduced to helpless bystanders as their shops were devoured by the flames.
Alnahdi Saddam who works for Peace Spares Suppliers located on the ground floor of the Bible House, said products worth colossal sums of money were gutted in the warehouse, while Gracious Chama from Bible Society of Zambia said assorted books and computers got burnt.
Other businesses operating in the building are Catermatic World and Lorenzo Truck & Car Parts Limited, both are said to have lost huge stocks of goods.
The scene also witnessed a few attempts at looting that were promptly scorched by alert police officers who cordoned off the area.
An eyewitness Charles Katebe said he first heard a pop sound and then he saw smoke coming from Bible House while he was at the nearby Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies Amatende hostels on Freedom Way.
“From the look of things, it could have been an electrical fault,” he said.
Another eyewitness Paul Nkhoma said he was coming from Mad Max Auto Spares shop, heading to Bible House when he saw thick smoke rising from the roof of the building, he was heading to.
Fire Services Union of Zambia general secretary Clement Mulenga said in an interview at the scene that while the cause of the fire was yet to be established he was happy with the Fire Brigade for responding “in good time” otherwise the inferno could have spread to other buildings stocking such goods as engine oil and other lubricants which would have intensified the fire.

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