A fierce warehouse fire at Rainbow Paints Company in Lilongwe destroyed paint-making materials and other property worth millions of kwacha on Friday morning.
The fire, whose cause was unknown is said to have been spotted around 2:30am.
The fire brigade said it took it over five hours to stop the fire.
“We deployed two fire engines, including a back-up vehicle summoned from Kanengo,” Lilongwe City Fire Brigade station officer Amin Katasefu explained.
He regretted that the fire crew could not gain entry into the burning warehouse to fight the fire during its initial stage.
The station officer said the warehouse perimeter wall was electrified so, they had to wait until officials from the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) arrived to disarm the fence.
Said Katasefu: “We lost perhaps over half an hour because the gate to the fire zone was locked. Even when we tried to effect forced entry, by disabling the gate’s front lock, the inner lock was intact and inaccessible, until after a warehouse official drove in later with the keys.
“The fire was so fierce that we could hear what we later identified as some giant paint containers exploding and blowing away iron sheets or demolishing parts of the brick-wall. It’s a miracle that none of the firemen got injured as we fought the fierce fire up close.”
The company officials seemed traumatised by the accident, with a senior executive barring reporters from taking photographs of the burnt out warehouse. He was highly charged when reporters tried to interview him on the incident.
When a reporter asked him what the cause of the fire was, he retorted, on top of his voice: “How am I supposed to know the cause—am I God?”
However, a younger company official, who refused to be named, was more accommodating. He calmly said the fire accident shocked them because it will paralyse some of the company operations.