AN inferno has swept through a furniture manufacturing factory, Decormore Investments Limited in Lusaka destroying property worth more than K3 billion.
The fire which destroyed eight machines, raw materials and finished products is reported to have started on Wednesday night after a power outage which lasted up to around 20:30 hours.
The factory situated off Lumumba Road had been experiencing power outages and in this incident, the factory had no power in the evening and when it was restored, it produced a spark and triggered the fire alarm before the factory was engulfed in fire.
Managing director Osama Younes found at the scene said the fire lasted close to five hours as a combined team of the council fire brigade and Zambia Air Force (ZAF) struggled to quench it.
"It is very devastating, I saw my machines burning, the fire tenders came earlier but ran out of water, then we had ZAF to reinforce the quenching of fire which lasted for over five hours and it destroyed property worth between K2.5 billion and K3.5 billion," said Mr Younes.
He said he had over 30 employees at his factory who would be jobless until his factory resumes operations as it had to start afresh since the fire had extensively damaged the warehouse and the machines.
A check found all the machines, raw materials, finished products burnt and part of the wall where the fire was expected to have started from completely damaged.
An eye witness, a security officer from Giant Eagles Security Services Ben Kunaka said he first heard the alarm set by Armcor ringing an indication that there was danger and when he rushed to check he saw a spark which later stopped.
He said after 30 minutes he again heard the alarm and when he checked for the second time, he saw the factory in flames and quickly went outside and started shouting for help and a fire brigade vehicle going somewhere advised him to call their emergency numbers as well as that of the managing director.
"After some time, I saw the fire fighters and the others including the owner of the factory Mr Younes who came rushing. We later saw ZAF fire fighters who together assisted to put off the fire," Mr Kunaka said.
He said the fire was only quenched between 05:00 and 06:00 hours.