Water from sprinkler damages shops’ stock at mall after fire

2014-12-10 00:00

SHOP owners in the Liberty Midlands Mall are counting the cost of an electrical fire in a storeroom early yesterday morning.

While the fire damage was limited to boxes in the Spitz shoe shop, water damage from the sprinkler system that was triggered was more widespread.

Msunduzi fire department investigator Rodney Trenam said the fire started in the early hours of the morning.

“The fire was caused by a light fitting that short circuited,” he said.

“The sparks set alight the plastic diffuser underneath the fitting and dropped burning flames onto the stock below, causing the fire to spread.”

Spitz regional manager Nathi Myeza said he did not know the cost of the damage to the store.

“The damage to the stock was severe, but I have yet to find out the cost,” he said.

Trenam said although the fire was quite small, the water damage from the sprinklers was severe in stores surrounding Spitz.

Bargain Books manager Linda Hulley said over 50 books had been damaged during the incident.

“Its not something you want to walk into your store and see, especially at this time of the year. It’s horrible,” she said.

A shop manager, who would not be named, said they were assessing the damage.

“The water has caused thousands of rands worth of damage,” said the manager.

Water from the fire suppression system damaged the wooden floor of Old Khaki.

An employee, who did not want to be named, said although the floor was badly damaged, there was little damage to their stock.

Jay Jay’s and Poetry also reported damage to their stores with clothes ruined in the former and the floor boards water-logged in the latter.

Liberty Midlands Mall marketing assistant Phumzile Zulu said all stores affected by the incident, excluding Spitz, would continue trading.

“With investigations under way, it is expected to take a few more days to resolve any trading issues at Spitz,” said Zulu.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

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