By Nangayi Guyson – Uganda’s largest Owino market, for the second time has been burnt to ashes causing a loss of billions to over 30000 market traders.
On Sunday night the fire started consuming the market at a very high speed. Uganda police and fire fighters were seen on the scene but still nothing was recovered. Over 30,000 traders operate in the area, most dealing in clothes, shoes and similar merchandise. The Sunday night fire comes barely two years after the market was gutted down by another inferno. Most of the traders dealing in second hand clothes and shoes among other merchandise had their goods burnt beyond recognition and most of the inner shops collapsed as a result of the uncontainable fire
The cause of the fire is still unknown but Traders and witnesses say the fire started around midnight and they blamed Uganda police fire brigade department for the “delayed” response. Some traders alleged that the first fire trucks arrived at the scene with no water, one angry trader shouted, “We informed police on time but they arrived after two hours”.
The police Fire Brigade headquarters are about one-and-a-half kilometers away from the market. However, Uganda Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba, denied claims that the force failed to intervene on time. “We received information at 2:20am and dispatched the first fire tender at 2:21am.Up to 6:45am, we had sent 15 vehicles to extinguish the fire whose cause we are investigating,” she told reporters.
The Inspector General of Police, Major General Kale Kayihura, also visited the scene and said investigations are already under way to establish the cause of the fire. “We are yet to establish the source of the fire but investigations are going on,” he told journalists at Police fire headquarters at Clock Tower.