A fierce fire on Tuesday destroyed Cookies Bakery in Lilongwe’s Area 36 residential area as the morning shift of bread and bun-making was in progress.
No one was injured in the incident whose cause and value of lost property were yet to be established.
Bakery owner Samson Kondowe was full of praise for the Lilongwe City Council Fire Brigade for not only rushing to the accident scene, but also for the professional way they put out the fire within minutes.
He also thanked the police for effectively securing the area during and after the fire accident, thereby preventing looting and chaos from over 300 onlookers who visited the fire scene in the sprawling township.
But so intense was the fire that the entire bakery unit—including steel pots, pans, containers and the chimney system—got charred, warped and destroyed beyond repair.
Loaves of bread and buns also got charred, with others rendered unfit for sale after being caught in the fire fighters’ water torrents as they doused the fire.
“My bakery staff, who were on the ground, report that the accident was preceded by a power [electricity] fluctuation and, ultimately a power upsurge that blew off our fuses. The fire then started and spread very quickly,” Kondowe, looking shocked, explained.
As the fire burnt down the bakery—located almost midway in a 19-shop complex— heat and smoke spread through the ceiling to the other shops in the building.
There were brief chaotic scenes as the other shop owners panicked and threw out their shop items, fearing that the fire would spread and engulf the entire building.
“We were clinical and we put out the fire within five minutes. We are grateful that the fire emergency call to us was made quickly and that our access to the bakery, and to the entire building, was not hindered,” the fire brigade’s team leader Elias Masikwekwe said before he jumped back into the 8 000-litre fire engine he commandeered back to base. n