By John Semakula
A FACTORY for suitcases was burnt down on Tuesday night.
The Police said the fire that gutted the Long Way Suitcase Factory on the Kampala-Jinja highway in Nama sub-county, Mukono district, started at midnight. The factory is owned by Chinese.
Mukono district Police commander Aliphonse Musoni said he received an emergency call from someone at 2:59am. â€œWhen I received the call, I called the fire brigade in Kampala,â€ he said.
But Steven Engwedu, the fire brigade boss, said by the time they arrived at the factory, the roof had caved in. Engwedu blamed lack of water at the factory to refill their trucks for delaying their work.
â€œWe had to send the van to Kampala to refill and that made our work complicated,â€ Engwedu said.
He advised investors to put water hydrants at their factories to assist the fire fighters.
Shocked workers said the fire destroyed thousands of suitcases and raw materials.
â€œEach day, we have been producing 250 suitcases. All the suitcases we had produced in the last one month were burnt to ashes,â€ said John Arinaitwe.
Sources at the factory said the fire was first noticed by a guard, who tried to alert his bosses. Unfortunately, none of them understands English or any of the local languages. The rescuers failed to find someone who speaks Chinese to inform the managers.
Lu Gian Zhong, one of the Chinese managers, who spoke through an interpreter, said they learnt about the fire in the morning.
â€œThere was nothing to save,â€ Zhong said.
The cause of the fire had not yet been established by press time and nobody had been arrested yet.
That was the second fire to gut a factory in Nama in one month. The first fire gutted Gegedde Tea Estate.