A devastating fire broke out last night at a shopping mall located at the corner of Julius Nyerere and Speke Avenue, opposite Joina City, leaving many people counting losses after goods worth thousands of dollars were reduced to ashes.
The fire was suspected to have been caused by an electrical fault.
Hair salons, pharmacies, clothing stores and other retail businesses, were reduced to rubble.
Some of the tenants declined to comment as they were overcome with emotions while others said they needed to try and salvage something, despite the fact that the fire was raging viciously.
As the flames got bigger, some people who not only operated shops there, but also lived there, watched helplessly as their accommodation went up in smoke.
The fire brigade was at the scene to extinguish the flame, but most of the wares in all floors were destroyed.
Through tear-filled eyes, a woman who had lived in the building for long, said: “It hurts. I can’t even put it into words.
“My husband is still inside, trying to save whatever little he can. But we have lost so much already. All we managed to salvage were a few beds, stoves, and blankets.” For Ms Annah Mubaiwa, a vendor who worked nearby, the fire was a sudden and horrifying event.
“It all happened so fast,” she said.
“First, we heard the sound of breaking windows, then there was this huge flame. I can’t even describe how I felt at that moment.”
A man who preferred to be called Baba Anesu said: “I guess goods worth millions of dollars have been destroyed because the mall was recently partitioned to accommodate many businesses.”
The smell of smoke and ash hung in the air, the sound of sirens echoing through the streets of Harare, as the once-thriving shopping mall brought pain on tenants.
Curiously, there were thousands of people – for a Sunday – who gathered to witness the fire.
Some were looking for transport to go home while others were still whiling up time, but many scurried for cover after a huge explosion suspected to be a gas stove.