Botswana: North Gate Lodge Gutted By Fire

Nata — Employees of North Gate Lodge in Nata will not lose their jobs after the multimillion Pula lodge was gutted by fire on Sunday leaving a trail of damages and costs.

According to the police and the lodge management, the fire broke out from a Mokolwane tree outside the lodge and caught one of the thatched chalets before spreading to other thatched facilities.

The general manager Mr Mogolodi Machola said in an interview that the company would not retrench any employee as the lodge was insured and they have other entities to augment finances.

He said even though the lodge was supported by two filling stations Caltex and Engine, employees had been assured that their work was safe.

He said the hotel management had already met with the employees to guarantee them of their jobs whilst the village's traditional leaders, who also offered support following the outbreak, were also informed.

At the time of going to press, Mr Machola was not be able to state the amount and cost of the damage. "We are still compiling a report to find out the damaged cost,"he said.

However, he explained that 12 chalets and the administration block were burnt to ashes. The administration Block comprises of the bar, curio shop, manager's office, kitchen, and conference centre.

Mr Machola said they were helped by the residents and fire brigades from Sowa Township to extinguish the fire and thanked everyone who helped.

Regarding bookings, the manager explained that those who had already booked with their hotel had been referred to other hotels.

The fire also caused some damages at the adjacent Big Zee investments, commonly known as "Shell Nata" which comprises of a filling station, bottles store, shops and bar.

The director Ms Lucia Pontsho said the fire broke at North Gate Lodge at around 2 pm and caught the thatched waiting room near the main road.

She explained that because it was windy, the fire spread quickly to the thatched bar in the west and caused an unspecified but substantial amount of damages.

Ms Pontsho said one thatched roundavel at the back of the complex used to house staff members, also caught the fire and burnt to ashes.

However, she complained that during the process of extinguishing the fire, some members of the community looted the shops stealing goods worth over P20 000.

She explained that some thieves broke into the bottle store gaining entry through the roof-top and stole alcohol and other beverages whilst some thieves also broke into the manager's office and went away with cash amounting to P10 000, which was the daily collection for both the filling station and the main shop.

Meanwhile, Nata Police station commander Superintendent Vincent Pitseetsile confirmed the incident saying they received a report at around 2:30 pm that North Gate Lodge was on fire.

He said by the time the police arrived at the scene, the fire had already spread through many facilities.

He said their preliminary investigations revealed that there were some children who were playing games of cooking and it looks like their fire caught a small Mokolwane tree which then spread to the bigger tree and a burning branch ultimately torched one of the thatched rooms.

He said no death or injuries were reported from the incident saying the three guests who have lodged at the lodge escaped unhurt.

Regarding the looting, Superintendent Pitseetsile said they have heard of them but no one had reported it officially to the police.

Source : BOPA

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