Mbale- Merchandise worth millions shillings went up in flames following a fire outbreak that burnt a number of shops along Kumi Road in Mbale Municipality.
Ms Rose Wafula, 40, one of the affected shop owners, said the fire started from the basement at around midnight and was detected by boda boda cyclists at a nearby stage.
According to police, property worth Shs20m and Shs6.6m in cash was burnt to ashes.
“I have lost everything including money in cash that I had sold the previous day,” said Ms Wafula.
An eye witness, Mr Derrick Magidu, said at around 12am there were sparks at a nearby electricity pole that went on for several minutes, before the fire at the shops begun.
“We alerted the fire brigade but they took long to come and by the time they arrived, a ball of fire had formed around two shops,” he said.
However, the Mt Elgon police spokesperson, Ms Diana Nandawula, said the fire brigade had responded immediately but it was too late to save the shops.
“Although we suspect that the fire could have been caused by a short circuit within the house, we have also launched an investigation into the cause of this mysterious fire,” said Ms Nandawula.
The Mbale Municipal Council speaker, Mr Abbey Makwasi appealed to Umeme to upgrade its network in the town, saying the old poles and wires are a danger to human life.