Fiery morning for Pavilion shoppers

2014-06-26 00:00

EARLY morning shoppers and staff from various retail outlets at the Pavilion Shopping Centre ran to safety after one of the shops at the centre caught fire yesterday morning.

The fire broke out at Verimark, an innovative goods and appliance seller, on the first floor of the mall. Though the fire was contained to the shop’s storeroom where it started several shops were advised by fire fighters to close their doors to prevent smoke inhalation.

Shoppers and staff stood in groups after the fire fighters assured everyone the fire was no threat and that it was contained.

Pinetown divisional commander of eThekwini Metro Fire Department, Sbusiso Dlamini, said an electrical fault was suspected to have caused the fire.

“A fluorescent light had a short-circuit and that’s how the fire started,” he said. “For precautionary measures we advised some of the stores which are close to this one to close until the smoke subside. We have assessed the area where the fire started and the fire was contained.”

No one was injured or treated for smoke inhalation and customers continued with their business while staff swept out water from affected shops.

Verimark store manager Shashika Baij­nath said the fire started at about 9.10 am. “There were no customers in the shop. It was just me and another staff member when the lights went off. The switch, which is situated at the back of the store had tripped. I went to switch it back on and it tripped a second time. When we went to check there was smoke and the fire was ignited. It was no big fire though.”

She said her colleague rushed for the fire extinguisher but the area was in smoke and fire fighters were called.

Onlookers said although they were assured of their safety, it was still scary to be on the first floor with smoke billowing from a shop.

“We didn’t know how big the fire was or if there was any appliance that could cause an explosion,” said Kgomo Molefe. “At least the fire fighters handled it in a very professional manner. When the smoke became visible in the corridor people started to panic.”

In 2011 three people were treated for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out at the mall.

At the time, Sapa reported that an electrical substation was found burning in a utility room on a Saturday early evening. An electrical fault was suspected to have caused the fire.

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