By Johnbosco Tugume
Fire has gutted shops in Hoima town leaving traders counting losses.
The 1am inferno on Old Tooro road, in the heart of town razed down three electronic shops, a drug shop, a saloon, an airtel franchise shop, a boutique and four general merchandise shops, all housed in one building.
The Thursday morning fire is said to have been caused by an electric short circuit in an electronic shop before it spread to the other shops.
Mansur Isabirye, the Albertine region fire officer says although police was called in immediately, they were overwhelmed by the raging fire. He explained that the police truck ran out of water, prompting them to first withdraw to refill it as fire raged on.
Manisur says the plywood ceiling in the building is also to blame for the fast spreading fire.
“The problem is with the kind of ceiling of the building because had they used concrete than plywood, we would have contained the fire in one room without spreading to other rooms. With plywood, once fire breaks off, spreading becomes easy and containing it becomes a problem,” he said.
Traders count losses
Joseph Kimojo, the owner of one of the burnt electronic shops says he has lost electronics worth over Shs10 million. Kimojo calls on government to come to the victims’ help.
“All my capital was in stock because I was targeting more sales this festive season, I request government to support us with soft loans such that we can resume business,” he said
However some traders blamed the police fire brigade for withdrawing early from the scene before fully putting out the fire.
It’s not the first time shops in Hoima town are brought down by fire. Of recent a number of buildings have been lost due to fire and old buildings have been prone to the problem. Some victims have at times alleged that their property could be targeted by the authorities in their bid to rid the town of old fashioned structures.