Story by Yolanda Moyo
More than 200 carpenters have been left counting their losses after a fire razed down the Espamprikeni furniture manufacturing complex in Mpopoma suburb of Bulawayo this Wednesday.
The complex is one of the most vibrant small-scale furniture manufacturing sites in Bulawayo.
The fire is alleged to have started after a spark within the complex leaving small-scale entrepreneurs like Mr Voice Moyo counting their losses.
“This place was my life. I was one of the pioneers in 1996. We have lost everything as you can see and we do not know where to start. I was here when the fire started. I was called by one of my colleagues. We tried putting the fire out, passers-by tried to help by taking out some of the products,” said Moyo.
The complex is dominated by Mpopoma Outspan Association members who are equally devastated.
“We are hurting, I have been here for more than 18 years and it is painful. I do not have a starting point going forward. We are appealing for help from the government,” said a member.
The place was opened in the early 1990s and has become home to over 200 carpenters employing more than 400 people.
The Bulawayo Fire and Rescue Services department told the ZBC News crew that they are still investigating the cause of the inferno.