Fire on Monday destroyed part of Carlsberg Malawi Limited’s brewery at Makata in Blantyre, destroying the micro laboratory and beer plant as well as chemicals.
Carlsberg Malawi officials were not immediately available to quantify the damage and explain the cause of the fire as the company’s corporate communications officer Towela Munthali said they would issue an official statement on the situation later.
However, sources at the scene told The Nation that they suspected the fire was caused by sparks from grinding machines which fell on chemicals in the laboratory, ultimately resulting in the fire.
Said one source: “The company contracted two companies, one from Kenya and another from Cameroon who were tasked to replace old water tanks for the brewery. In the course of their work, they flashed sparks which fell on chemicals in the laboratory and caused the fire. It is after this that fire broke out because these chemicals are highly flammable.”
The fire, which started at around 2.45pm, proved difficult for Blantyre City Council (BCC) fire fighters to put out as it was mainly in segmented compartments, making it impossible for them to get inside.
Besides, inadequate water supply also complicated life for the fire fighters.
Carlsberg Group last year offloaded its entire 59 percent stake in Carlsberg Malawi Limited, a division of the dual-listed conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL), to privately-owned French beverage company, Castel Group.
Until the signing of the agreement, the shareholding structure in Carlsberg Malawi consisted of PCL with 39.7 percent, minorities at 0.86 percent before the 59 .48 percent shareholding of Carlsberg Breweries A/S was sold to Castel.