Traders on Main Street in Jinja City are counting losses after fire swept through 12 shops on Friday night, destroying property worth millions of shillings.
“The fire outbreak occurred during the curfew time when most traders had closed their shops; however, some first responding shop owners struggled to save their property,’’ eyewitness and area resident, Mr John Bogere said.
According to him, several establishments were reduced to ashes although the police fire brigade managed to stop it from spreading to more buildings.
At the scene, most of the shop owners were left in tears, while others collapsed after seeing their merchandise go up in flames.
Mr Samuel Mulondo, one of the shop owners, described the incident as “a huge loss”, adding that he had just re-stocked when fire gutted the building.
“I don’t know where to begin from. The Covid-19 pandemic and its induced lockdown had already affected me but I am now suffering more heavy losses due to fire,’’ he told Daily Monitor.
The Kiira Region Police Fire Officer, Mr Rashidi Kamayo, said the fire started at around 9:20pm and the affected building housed twelve shops.
“The building is near Jinja Central Police Station. We were tipped-off by one of the residents and swung into action because my team was around,’’ he said.
Mr Kamayo added that with the help of the residents, they managed to save some property.
“At the moment, we can’t estimate the extent of the damage and what we managed to salvage but we are still investigating the cause of the fire,’’ he added.
Some of the destroyed shops were boutiques, stationery and those dealing in sports accessories among others.