Raging fire destroys factories

Three factories in Failsworth Road were gutted by fire early on Monday morning.
Three factories in Failsworth Road were gutted by fire early on Monday morning.
Kailene Pillay

Msunduzi Fire Department investigators are working to establish what caused the raging fire that gutted three factories on Failsworth Road on Monday morning.

A toilet-roll manufacturer and two leather footwear manufacturers’ buildings were 98% gutted, according to Msunduzi deputy chief firefighter Juggie Padayachee.

The fire started in the early hours of MOnday morning and raged through the buildings “quick and fast”.

Padayachee said three fire engines and 24 firefighters were at the scene, and managed to contain the fire within an hour.

“We had the fire under control in an hour. By daylight, firefighters were just trying to dampen the area and investigators were already on scene to start their investigations,” Padayachee said.

One of the workers who is employed at the toilet-roll factory, Ayesha Shaik, said she arrived at work at around 6 am and was “shocked” to find firefighters had cordoned off the area and the roads were blocked off to traffic.

“This is really sad because this factory is our livelihood,” she said.

“All the employees are here and we are not sure what is going to happen now.”

Shaik said her employer was “upset” and employees would wait until he gave them instructions.

“I feel so sorry for the owners because as much as it is our livelihood, it is theirs too. We are grateful that no one was injured but still, this is years of hard work,” Shaik said.

The owner of one of the leather footwear factories said his business had celebrated 10 years in existence this year.

He said it was “10 years of hard work up in flames”.

“It is quite disheartening to see my business like this. I had about half-a-million rand’s worth of raw materials and machinery in the factory,” he said.

Specialising in women’s fashion shoes, the owner said he had only a week’s worth of stock in the building and kept his finished products in another location.

“Fortunately I keep my paperwork at home and had my laptop with me. I received the call while I was in Johannesburg because my first granddaughter was born this weekend.

“I guess we just have to pick up the pieces and start again,” he said.

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