By Solomon Hamala
Traders in Iganga are counting loses after fire gutted 13 road side kiosks destroying property worth millions of shillings.
The fire that started at around 4.30 a.m yesterday 22nd February 2021 destroyed merchandise and brand new motorcycles worth Shs1.5 billion.
Most of the shops that are crowded along the busy Iganga to Kaliro highway deal in bicycle and vehicle spare parts and other general merchandise.
The LC one chairman Bugumba zone, Abdu Kiwanuka said he suspects the fire could have been caused by an electric short circuit.
Kiwanuka said traders with freezers had earlier been cautioned against leaving them on to avoid a power short circuit especially during their absence but some have been hesitant.
Locals who rushed to the scene managed to put out the fire from spreading to other kiosks nearby.
The police fire brigade arrived at the scene almost two hours after locals had managed to put out the fire from spreading to other kiosks and causing more damage.
Amina Mutesi, one of the traders who lost all her merchandise said she had earlier borrowed a shillings 15 million loan from one of the Microfinance Institutions in order to boost her business but now everything had been reduced to ashes.
“I left shillings 2.4 million that was for the days sales yesterday in the counter hoping to take it to the bank today but I was shocked that it has also been destroyed in the fire,” she said.
Mutesi urged sympathizers and local politicians to come to their rescue since they can no longer service their loans besides earn a living with their families.
Isma Kato, one of the affected traders said some locals who rushed to the scene to put out the fire instead took advantage to loot traders’ properties during the confusion.
Kato blamed the police fire brigade for arriving late yet it would have been in position to reduce on the damage.
The District Police Commander (DPC) Iganga, Kenneth Muheirwe said investigations are underway to establish the exact cause of the fire.