Photo:Brave Chipata Fire-Fighter Dies

zanaco-smoke tumfweko
A fire-fighter from Chipata Municipal Council who fell from the roof while putting out a fire that gutted Zanaco Bank on Friday has died.

And an undisclosed amount of money was burnt in the inferno.

Eastern Province police commissioner Grace Chipalila confirmed the fire-fighter’s death in an interview.

She said Prince Zulu died from head injuries sustained in the fall.

“This man…wanted to climb on top of the building using a sewer pipe, so it broke and he fell down and hit his head on the ground,” Chipalila said.

The cause of the inferno, which started shortly after 15:00 hours on Friday, has not yet been established, but sources say it started from the bank’s computer room.

The council fire brigade team arrived just after 15:20 hours but failed to extinguish the fire after running out of water twice, much to the irritation of onlookers.

“Aba banthu bakangiwa chabe. Onani so manzi yabasilila (These people have failed. Look, they have run out of water),” an onlooker shouted.

Fire officers from Chipata Airport with an advanced fire tender arrived an hour later to help their colleagues from the council, by which time extensive damage had already been done to the building.

Security was tight as armed police prevented residents from getting near the bank.
The officers, led by Eastern Province deputy police commissioner Hudson Namachila, formed a cordon to keep people at bay.

Council chief fire officer Fackson Mbewe said the bank delayed to inform the fire brigade and that by the time it arrived, the fire had already extended to most parts of the building.
Meanwhile, Chipalila said the amount of money lost in the inferno had not yet been established.

“The bank has not counted the money that was burnt. They are waiting for people from Lusaka who wanted to be part of that process.

Once they count, that’s when we are going to give you the amount of money that was burnt. Whatever was on the counters which was being paid and deposited was burnt,” said Chipalila.

And scores of Chipata residents rushed to the bank upon seeing the fire.
Some thought it would to be easy to help themselves to the money, but police ensured that no one got near the bank.