By David Oduut
MANAFWA. There was pandemonium in Magale town council in Manafwa District yesterday as fire that stemmed from a local fuel station gutted several houses.
The night fire also affected Magale police post that was reduced to ashes forcing Police to release six suspects that were in custody.
Fire brigade reached the scene two hours late and could hardly salvage anything as eight shops with merchandise worth millions of shillings were gutted.
No one was injured in the fire incident.
The owner of the petrol station Simon Peter Musila, has been put in preventive custody was he was said to be contemplating committing suicide.
Musila had over the weekend stocked his fuel pump with over 12,000 litres of fuel and all was lost in the fire.
At the scene, PML Daily found tearful residents who watched helplessly for more than an hour as the raging fire devoured their property.
Thereza Khawoma, who owns a boutique at the trading centre, told PML Daily that burglars also took advantage of the situation to break into her shop.
“I had gone to see if I could help do something, but as I came back I found that burglars had broken into my shop and swept it clean,” Khawoma said in tears.
Elgon Regional Police Commander Francis Chemusto said investigations are underway to establish the cause of the fire.
Local leaders Grace Namakula, a former aspirant for Manafwa District Woman MP, and Rogers Walyama, the councillor for Magale Subcounty, blamed the intensity of the damage caused on failure by Police Fire Brigade to respond in time.
They two local leaders have appealed to government to decentralise fire brigade services at district level so as to help quick response to fire outbreaks.
“You cannot expect fire brigade to come from Tororo up to Manafwa and make any significant rescue, I believe government should have every district have its own fire emergency services,” Walyama said.