Friday 21 July 2023


PROPERTY worth millions of dollars went up in smoke last Sunday evening when a ferocious fire engulfed the imposing and grass thatched Max Village Shopping Centre in Rusape.

Tenants at the shopping centre and the owner of the complex, Europe-based Ms Irene Musesengwa, were left counting huge losses as nothing was salvaged from the inferno.

Efforts to get a comment from Ms Musesengwa were fruitless.

Max Village was home to several businesses such as bars, butcheries, grocer shops, salons, restaurants and churches, among others.

The Manica Post understands that no meaningful efforts were made to put out the fire as people watched from a distance for their own safety.

Rusape Town Council failed to dispatch their ramshackle fire tender as it is reportedly down.

They had to deploy an ambulance and a tractor-drawn water bowser and an angry mob chased the vehicle away.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire started from a restaurant before spreading to the rest of the building.

A butchery operator, Mr Carlos Kabungaidze said he lost everything he has worked for in his life as he was not insured, just like his peers.

He estimated his total loss to be around US$17 000.

“It is a huge loss to us. We lost all our investments. No one was able to salvage anything because the fire started when we were home. We do not know where to start from, we are down and devastated. We were not insured.

“Personally, I have lost investments worth around US$17 000. All my equipment and stock is gone. However, we live everything in God’s hands so that we can rise again,” said the distraught businessman.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Norbert Muzondo said investigations are underway to establish the cause of the fire and ascertain the value lost.

“On July 16, an informant reported a fire incident at Max Village which houses several businesses. All shops were closed by that time, except for three bars. Smoke coming out of one of the shops was spotted. Bar tenders and their patrons fled from the complex for their own safety.

“Fire Brigade was called to put out the fire, but did not come. The value of the property destroyed is yet to be ascertained and investigations are now in full swing,” said Inspector Muzondo.

According to a Rusape Town Council fire incident report prepared by the chief fire officer, Mr Kelvin Wona, which The Manica Post has in its possession, the local authority said the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault.

“Having been informed by a resident of the fire incident, we attended the scene in our ambulance as our fire tender is down. We ascertained that the fire had originated from Shop Number Three, which is a takeaway.

“It may have been caused by an electrical fault. We assisted in every way possible and made sure that shops and the surrounding residential buildings were not affected. There were no casualties.

“The roof was completely destroyed by the fire as it was made of highly flammable material. Due to lack of wire mesh lining inside the complex and flame retardant, we could not salvage any contents in the shops at the complex.

“An angry mob at the scene disturbed our efforts to properly set our equipment at the incident as they threatened to burn our ambulance, tractor drawn bowser and equipment,” reads part of the statement. Manica Post



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