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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Glen View 8 fires; time for viable sustainable solutions

Story by Memory Chamisa

THE catastrophic fire which destroyed Glen View Area 8 Home Industry Complex last weekend for the umpteenth time has raised eyebrows on what could be the cause of infernos that occur around the same time each year.

On the 2nd of this month, the informal economy fraternity woke up to the devastating news of yet another fire outbreak at the Glen View Area 8 Complex in Harare.

The complex houses over a thousand informal enterprises that specialise in the production and selling of furniture.

The fire has now become an annual occurrence which has made the complex a risky place to work from.

What makes the situation appalling is days down the line no one can give a plausible explanation as to what transpired on the day, and neither has anyone been held accountable.

But even after their sheds were razed down, the carpenters came back with the hope that the local authority would provide a lasting solution.

“Sadly, we lost property worth thousands of dollars but there is nothing we can do about it. Financial obligations still await us and doesn’t care that a fire broke out,” said a carpenter.

Another affected carpenter said, “The working conditions in here are not professional, you find that some come back to work when others have gone home and usually that’s when these mysterious fires break out.”

“I believe it has to do with traditional effects. We are supposed to have held a bira when these fires started but because people believe in different religions, that has not been done” said another carpenter.

As the smell of smoke fills the air, covered in sawdust, the handymen nail the wood away while some ladies step on the machine as they work under the scorching sun.

Some work in sheds made of planks or metal roofing sheets, while others are out in the open.

The cause of the fire remains mysterious, as traders and witnesses give different versions of events, ranging from suspected electrical faults to cigarette butts thrown away carelessly.

“The electricity used here is not legal, we breach the connections so chances are high that electrical faults will happen that lead to these fires,” narrated a trader.

Initially, this place had no electricity as it is supposed to be a carpentry site only, but, over the years, people started connecting electricity from nearby houses which we then breach in here ourselves,” said another trader.

While the area is said to be run by the local authority, there seems to be no end in sight to the fire outbreaks and traders have lost hope and now work in fear of the next incident.

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