Tanzania’s Historic Kariakoo Market Up in Flames

The market which was constructed in 1974 under a Tanzanian architecture Beda Jonathan Amuli, serves over seven million Dar es Salaam residents including traders from DR Congo,Burundi, Zambia, Malawi among others.
Historic Tanzanian Kariakoo Market Up in Flames (News Central TV)

A team of firefighters has finally extinguished a raging fire that broke out in the early hours of Saturday night at the popular Kariakoo Market in Dar es Salaam that burnt for over five hours.

The Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Amos Makalla requested a beef-up of security in the market. He added that they will launch an investigation into its roots but observers and eyewitnesses faulted the technology employed by the Fire and Rescue Unit as well as the management of the market.

“The market has no fire detectors neither does it have automated fire extinguishers,” A trader whose properties were reduced to rubbles complained. “The market has normal fire extinguishers and because of such poor technology I have lost everything.”

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Ilala Regional Fire and Rescue Commander, Elisa Mgisha told newsmen that he was informed about the inferno at about 9pm.

“We arrived here on time the only problem we faced was a shortage of water as we had to drive to and from the airport where there are working fire hydrants,” he said.

Mgisha explained that the fire rose from the upper floor (second-floor) and spiraled through the ground floor. He said the unit managed to contain the fire and rescued the nearby market. By 1:40 a.m, the entire market was almost razed to the ground.

He acknowledged that there are fire extinguishers and people have been trained how to use them, unfortunately, the market was closed at the time of the incident. “The extinguishers need humans to operate,” he said and thanked the team that managed to fight the fire for hours in spite of the challenging environment.

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The Kariakoo Area Chairman Komba Thabit says the incident of such magnitude is the first he has witnessed since the establishment of the market in 1974.

While the cost of damage is yet to be established, the potential losses could run into billions of shillings given its role as a trading hub for Tanzania and other countries such as DR Congo, Burundi, Zambia, Uganda, among others.   

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