According to the owner of the business, “not even a nail” could be saved from the raging fire.
THE CUSTOMERS of Kimberley Hardware, which was gutted by a fire on Sunday, have been assured that their lay-by items will still be available for collection.
The fire started at around lunchtime on Sunday during trading hours.
The inside of the hardware store in South Circular Road was completely destroyed by the fire, which reportedly spread from a neighbouring furniture shop. The stock outside the store was however saved.
Several explosions were heard on the scene during the fire, while massive plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from the building.
Shop owners next to the hardware store had started carrying out their goods on Sunday, fearing that the fire would spread.
It has been claimed that the Sol Plaatje emergency services failed to stop the fire in time to save the hardware store due to a lack of water. It is alleged that one fire truck arrived at the scene only carrying half a tank of water.
The Kimberly Airport’s water cannon is said to have made all the difference in fighting the fire when it arrived on the scene.
The Kimberley police have opened an investigation into the blaze and have indicated that there were no fatalities and that no person sustained any serious injuries.
Police spokesperson Captain Olebogeng Tawana said on Monday that the cause of the fire is still unknown at this stage.
The owner of the hardware store, Mohammed Gul, said that the premises held stock worth R12 million, inside and outside the shop.
He said that they had stocked up on goods in preparation for the busy business months of November and December, but according to Gul, “not even a nail” could be saved from the raging fire.
Gul advised customers to produce proof of their lay-by purchases at their other store in Barkly road.
He, however, requested patience from clients as they were in the process of connecting their sales system to the other store in order to process customers’ lay-bys.
Meanwhile, one of the store employees on Monday slammed the municipal fire team’s response to the blaze, claiming that the extensive damage could have been prevented.
“They were pathetic and kept on spraying on the sides of the building instead of on top where the flames were. They were arrogant and told us that they know how to do their job,” said the worker.
“The airport team are the ones who came and extinguished the fire through spraying on top of the building. But it was unfortunately too late.”
The Sol Plaatje Municipality on Monday dismissed claims that its fire trucks were faulty and did not have enough water to extinguish the fire.
Municipal spokesperson Thoko Riet said that two municipal trucks and the airport water cannon were on the scene to extinguish the fire.
Riet indicated that the two fire trucks have the capacity to carry 5,000 litres of water per trip.
“When the water runs out, the truck has to go and fill up. The fire was spreading fast, that is why the truck ran out of water. That is why we asked for back-up from the airport truck, because their truck carries a capacity of 8,000 litres of water,” said Riet.
Riet said that they are still investigating the cause of the fire, together with the police.
“We are still busy compiling a forensic report. We will release it as soon as it is complete.”