OVER 100 workers have been rendered jobless following a fierce fire at the Gilchrist & Cooksey building in Harare on Sunday night.
The building, along Speke Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way, next to the Footbridge, housed a range of businesses, including a furniture shop, salon and mobile phone shops.
One small business owner, who only identified herself as Nancy, rented out 96 chairs to beauticians, which were all consumed by the inferno.
“We had almost 100 beauticians, excluding their trainees, who were affected by the fire and woke up pondering their next move,” said Nancy.
“The mishap came at a time when most of the beauticians were yet to recover from the ‘January disease’.
“They paid fees for their children and rentals so this has emotionally, socially and financially affected us.
“Some of these beauticians have been renting chairs somewhere and were still new at this building and their tools of trade have been burnt to ashes.
“Tangatichitambura kuwana mvura yekushandisa mu-salon asi vakadzima moto vakauya vakawana pekuvhura mvura nanhasi irikubuda.’
Gabriel Chiuriri, who employed 60 people, said that while his business was not fully insured, help from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development would be appreciated.
“Everything was destroyed and my employees are looking up to me for a solution,” said Gabriel.
“My business was not fully insured and this has left me in a very challenging position considering that I had employees who have families to look after.
“It is my prayer that we get assistance in any way that may revive our business destroyed by fire,” he said.
Most people who worked in the destroyed building spent the better part of yesterday sitting along the street.
Acting Harare provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Faith Mapisa, said the cause of the fire remains unknown.
“Police are yet to establish the cause of fire and the total value destroyed at the building.
“A report was received that a fire had erupted at Gilchrist & Cooksey on January 28 and at around 7.30pm.
“The Fire Brigade was dispatched to attend the scene.
“They established that the building is partitioned into small shops selling different wares.
“They managed to put out the fire. Investigations are in progress,” said Ass-Insp Mapisa.