By Moses Masiye

Fire on the dawn of Monday gutted down items worth millions of kwacha under Balaka district council building that houses Social welfare offices, community development offices, council chamber and council store room.

The cause of the fire that started around 1 am, is not yet established.

Police and other stakeholders tried to rescue a few items but most items perished.

Balaka district commissioner Roderick Mateauma said lack of fire fighting machinery nearby is a major set back, as most of the items that perished could be saved if there was say a fire fighting engine within reach.

“The nearest fire fighting engine is in Zomba city, at a distance of about 80 kilometers.
About three hours after we called for it, it was nowhere to be seen, and there is no need for it to come as fire has gutted down everything now,” said Mateauma.

Only three motor cycles and some furniture were rescued, but most valued items yet to be valued, were burnt to ashes, according to Mateauma.

Balaka police officer in charge Benfrey Kamanga said investigations were promptly instituted to establish cause of the fire.

This comes barely some months after the magistrate court building also caught fire in Balaka district.

Other Balaka fire incidences previously burnt down district education offices, and two town markets besides several houses.

Many towns and districts in Malawi have no fire fighting engines.