Fire guts VID holding bay, Glen View Complex Fire fighters battle to extinguish a blaze that broke out and destroyed wreckages of vehicles parked at VID Eastlea premises in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Nicholas Bakili

Ivan Zhakata

Herald Correspondent

Vehicles, mainly accident damaged ones, went up in smoke at a parking bay at the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) in Eastlea, Harare, following a fire reportedly started by scavengers foraging for recyclable material for resale. 

The fire devoured a number of wreckages including the Rolls Royce that was owned by late businessma0n and socialite Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure, who perished on November 8, 2020 with three of his friends after an accident. 

When The Herald news crew arrived at the scene, seven accident damaged vehicles were still burning while firefighters were battling to put out the fire. 

Firefighters, blowing the siren, rushed to some parts of the central business district to fetch water to put out the fire. 

Some impounded vehicles outside the holding bay were being moved away for fear they could also catch fire. 

Besides wreckages, the bay also had functional vehicles including buses and lorries, but they were not affected. 

Police officers arrived later to record statements and assess the situation but the fire had already been contained. 

VID officials could not immediately comment but onlookers said the fire started outside the VID premises and was pushed over the precast wall into the yard by wind.

“Once the fire got inside the VID premises, it started by torching timber which was in a trailer. The trailer itself then caught fire and it spread, burning the other seven vehicle wreckages in the yard before the fire brigade came,” said Mr Michael Tayananiswa.

Another onlooker, Mr David Brando, blamed scavengers for starting the fire. 

“I do not know the cause of the fire but it started behind the precast wall and we were shocked when we saw a trailer full of timber burning. The fire then spread to nearby cars before the fire brigade came to contain the fire,” he said. 

Meanwhile, another part of the Glen View home industry caught fire yesterday destroying property worth thousands of dollars. 

The cause of the fire was not known, but operators said they suspected an electrical fault. 

When The Herald arrived at the scene, the operators were busy moving their goods outside the complex to safe places. 

Fire fighters had successfully contained the fire while police were recording statements and residents watching the fire. 

One of the local operators, Mrs Portia Manhango, who lives in the same neighourhood said she was shocked when she heard that the home industry was on fire.

“When I thought I was recovering from last year’s disaster when this home industry caught fire then another fire destroyed my business. I now do not know what to do because I have lost everything,” she said. 

Mr Innocent Matambo pleaded with the Government to intervene and help them to get back to business. 

“I have lost everything. This is the fourth time I have lost my stuff due to these fires. We are pleading with the Government to help us because this business is our source of income. Our family depends on this business for survival,” he said. 

Another fire outbreak at the home industry recently gutted goods such as wardrobes, sofas and kitchen units made by entrepreneurs. Previously, operators said a fire would break out at least once per year at the home industry but this year has been different. 

Some operators have implored the Government to construct a permanent structure to minimise fire incidents.

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