Chipinge residents fume over council’s slow response to fire incident

By Tamuka Charakupa
GOODS worth thousands of dollars were destroyed after a fire broke out at one of the shops in the Chipinge central business district on Tuesday night.
The fire broke out at around 7pm and destroyed property estimated to be worth over 150 thousand United States dollars.
“I was operating in one of the buildings and I am not happy with the way our council responds to disasters. They did not have enough water. I am not sure of what caused the fire but I have lost goods worth over US$50 000,” said one retailer.
“My stuff was taken out of the shop before the fire and I don’t know who have them but I am not happy that council doesn’t have a reliable fire tender to put a fire especially one that erupts in the CBD yet we are paying taxes and rates,” said another retailer.
While the cause of the fire is not yet known, eyewitnesses say the first fire tender ran out of water hence he took longer than anticipated to put out the inferno.
“The council did not take long to respond but they were not prepared enough. Their water ran out while the flames were still manageable but it worsened just after they left, they came and tried to put out the fire but they could not. Some shop owners did not allow us to move some properties out so we just stood here as the fire gained strength,” explained an eyewitness.
The spokesperson of Chipinge Business and Residents Trust, Amato Rungano expressed displeasure over the local authority’s lack of preparedness for disasters.
“This is not the first time that we have seen such an incident happening in town. Last year, a house was burnt to the ground and where was the council.
Our council should be proactive because residents and businesses are paying the fire levy. Goods and properties have been lost and now residents are carrying the burden,” said Rungano.
In November last year, the town council’s fire tender failed to respond to a fire incident that gutted a house in the town’s low-density suburb.