A massive fire broke out at Mbare Musika market in Harare last night, destroying several stalls and shops and causing panic among traders and residents.
The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, but some eyewitnesses said they heard a loud explosion before the flames erupted.
The fire brigade arrived at the scene but struggled to contain the blaze due to the lack of water and the congested nature of the market.
The fire was eventually put out, but not before it had gutted a large section of the market, where hundreds of informal traders sell fruits, vegetables, clothes, electronics and other goods. Some traders salvaged some of their wares, while others lost everything they had invested in.
Some unruly elements tried to exploit the chaotic situation and loot traders’ goods. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) had to intervene to stop the looters and disperse the crowds.
The Mbare Musika market is one of Harare’s oldest and largest markets, serving thousands of customers from different parts of the city and beyond.
It has also been prone to fires, with the most recent one occurring in July 2019, when a gas tank explosion caused a similar inferno that razed down a complex at the market.