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Millions lost as fire guts timber workshops in Kakumiro

Kakumiro, (UG): Residents of Mwitanzige Town in Kakumiro District were Monday evening left in shock after a timber workshop was reduced to ashes in a fire that broke out, leading to the loss of property estimated to be worth UGX 70millions.

The catastrophe unfolded at around 8:20 pm when the power supply, which had been erratic throughout the day, flickered back on with an unexpected surge, leading to a short circuit in the one ill-fated timber workshop.

Eyewitnesses recounted scenes of horror and despair as the flames rapidly consumed the structures, rendering them beyond salvation.

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Authorities swiftly responded to the incident, with the cause of the fire attributed to the fluctuating electricity supply. The sudden force and short circuit that occurred when the power was restored are believed to have ignited the flames that engulfed the workshop.

Tragically, one other nearby timber and welding workshop was also ravaged by the inferno, resulting in significant losses for the owners.

Among the destroyed items were two motorcycles which were kept inside the workshop, cases, welding plants, generators, wooden furniture and various valuable items, all consumed by the relentless fire.

Ssendegeya Ismael, a district councillor, expressed his concerns about the state of electricity in the region. He revealed that citizens had been grappling with electricity issues for weeks, citing a recent incident where a building was gutted but prompt response minimized the damage.

Ismael attributed the cause of the fire to the poor wiring of the electricity supply by the technical team from the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL).

The response time of the police has also come under scrutiny, as they arrived at the scene an hour after the fire broke out. This delay has raised public concern, especially considering the proximity of the police station to the incident.

Gombolola Internal Security Officer Mr Jonathan Niwasasire pointed fingers at illegal electricity connections as a potential cause of the fires. He urged a thorough revision of the construction planning in the town to prevent such incidents in the future.

Niwasasire, shed light on the possible cause of the fire, attributing it to illegal electricity connections. He emphasized the need for a revision of the town’s construction planning to prevent such incidents in the future.

Local leaders are urging businesses, especially those dealing in highly flammable materials like timber and petrol, to prioritize safety measures.

Mr Niwampaire Max advised such businesses to invest in fire extinguishers to mitigate the risk of similar uncertainties in the future.

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Attempts to seek comments from the electricity supplier, UEDCL and Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Mwitanzige proved futile as calls went unanswered at the time of filing this story.

Meanwhile, the entire community is now left to grapple with the aftermath of the fire, mourning not only the loss of property but also questioning the state of essential services and emergency response in the region.

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