A senior fire officer in the Police has decried negligence of fire safety by most constructors and property owners, saying it is to blame for most fire outbreaks in the city.
Joseph Mugisa, the Police Chief Fire Officer and the Coordinator for Emergency Responses, said the Sunday night fire at Capital Shoppers mall in Ntinda, Kampala, was made worse by the absence of installed fire safety measures.
He says the building, a commercial complex, lacks mechanisms like an automatic sprinkler and a fire detection system to avert fire outbreaks.
Mugisa says the police have secured the scene of the fire, and deployed experts this morning to analyze the debris and try to find the cause of the fire, which destroyed property worth millions of shillings.
An eyewitness, Charles Mubiru, says the fire, which broke out at around 7:30pm, started from the Bata store, one of the many stores in the complex. At least one person is said to have jumped from the mall’s top floor during the fire, breaking his leg.
Mubiru says the police delayed to arrive, which he says worsened the destruction caused by the fire.
However, Mugisa has defended the police response, saying it was quick despite the traffic jam they encountered on Ntinda road on their way to the scene. He says they were able to contain the fire from spreading to other shops and destroying the entire building.
The Kampala metropolitan commander Andrew Kaweesi says four people were taken to hospital after suffering from suffocation. Kaweesi faults the fire to negligence, and says they had to break into some shops to contain it.