By Nhau Mangirazi
Karoi, October 24, 2016 – NEARLY a hundred traders at a Karoi flea market were left counting their losses on Sunday after goods worth thousands of dollars were destroyed when market was gutted by fire.
The disaster occurred just before mid day on Sunday.
Although fire fighters from the Karoi council arrived few minutes after the fire started, it emerged they had no water to put out the inferno.
The flea market is situated on the fringes of the farming town’s central business district and adjacent to the transit town’s now disused cemetery.
Witnesses said the fire could have been started by a mentally challenged vagrant who stays within the cemetery.
The fire spread from the cemetery and later engulfed the flea market and got worse when it caught plastic paper which traders use to cover their vegetables, clothing, and furniture, among some of the wares on sale.
Most of the traders were away enjoying the weekend but those who were there watched helplessly as their goods went up in smoke.
“I am totally devastated by this incident and I just do not know how I am going to recover from this loss,” said one Crispen Marenga, a vegetable vendor.
Dennis Mabaya, a trader as the market also said some of his colleagues who are into carpentry were still yet to repay loans acquired from a local bank and were hoping to do so after a few sales.
“It unfortunate that some of the carpenters got loans from Agribank and the furniture has been destroyed. Many have lost out financially as it will take long to recover,” he said.
Karoi vendors’ association coordinator, Justice Charimba was concerned that council had failed to allocate their members strategic sites for too long.
“Generally, vending is part of employment but council is not forthcoming in giving our members strategic areas to operate from,” he said.
“This was just an open space that vendors tried to improvise for a flea market. Had council built a good proper structure, this could have been avoided.
“We are renting these poor stalls to the council but our needs are not catered for by the local authority.”