Arcade tenants devastated

2009-07-31 00:00

THE fire that gutted Harwin’s Arcade on Wednesday night devastated a number of small businesses and police are investigating whether the blaze was caused by arson.

Harwin’s Arcade is the second building of historical importance in the city to be gutted by fire in as many months. On June 12, the Colonial Building nearby was also engulfed in flames.

Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said police are investigating arson, but would not elaborate as the circumstances are still being investigated.

The owners of the businesses in the arcade said they lost thousands of rands worth of merchandise. Yesterday morning, they counted their losses from afar as the police had cordoned off the area.

Prince Fred, a tenant who runs a shoe shop in the area, estimated that he lost about R200 000 in goods, adding, “So far I have not been able to go in because the police are not letting anyone in.”

He was critical of the way the firefighters had dealt with the blaze, saying: “They have the tools, and they seem not to know how to use them”.

“The fire started on the left side of the building and I thought they would attack it from the right to prevent it from spreading, but they focused on the left side and let it spread to the whole top floor.”

Another tenant, Babes Dada­bhays, felt the municipality had let down the firefighters.

He said: “The firefighters were great. The problem was that there was not enough pressure on the hydrant and that slowed them down, allowing the fire to spread quickly.”

Ros Devereaux of heritage body Amafa said the old Stock Exchange Building neighbouring Harwin’s Arcade also suffered extensive damage. She said she was still baffled how the fire managed to jump from one building to another.

“The building had many flammable things and wooden floors so it burned easily. By 11 this morning, the area was still smouldering and the firefighters had to come back.”

Essack Khan, operations manager of the Fire Department, said that although the pressure in the hydrant was not good, they managed to save part of the building.

He added that the fire load was big. “In that area you find that there are a lot of businesses located in one office, and combined with that it’s an old building with a lot of wood.

“It created a really big fire load.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.