Matsapha Industrial Site almost came to a standstill after a fierce and mysterious fire broke out at a factory known as Brothers Embroidery textile firm in one of the buildings.
One had to be there to believe it as in a movie like scene fire-fighters from the Swaziland National Fire and Emergency Services (SNFES) tried at first in vain to put out the flames that threatened to spread to yet another company housed in the same building.
It took over an hour for the brave fire-fighters from Matsapha Fire Station to eventually arrest the flames after having been forced to run helter-sketter trying to get more water from the nearby Lusushwana River as their fire engines ran out of the much needed water at a time of need.
Back-up fire engines believed to be from the Zakhele Fire Station in Manzini were also called in to assist in putting out the threatening flames.
Police officers worked tirelessly in controlling the public from coming close to the incident as well as motorists from driving closer to the scene. The public’s curiously to see for themselves how the situation would eventually unfold kept police officers on their toes as they shouted in a bid to maintain order.
Business owners in this building appeared to have lost their minds as one of them had to be stopped from entering the building to retrieve some money that was in the building before the fire broke out. Owners of the nearby Aerobrake business also worked tirelessly in removing just about everything they could get their hands on within the building before the fire could spread to their property. Fortunately, there were no casualties as even workers within the embroidery firm were evacuated on time.
Even businesses around the affected area were greatly affected as they had to be on high alert before the fire could spread to their properties as it appeared as though the fire-fighters were struggling to put out the raging flames.
A huge and very dark smoke attacked people from all around Matsapha and other areas to the scene as the smoke and flames were visible from as far as Manzini and, believe it or not, from as far as the notorious Malagwane Hill, which is about 30 kilometres away from the scene.
Members of the public gathered around the scene to witness for themselves and some went to an extent of taking pictures and videos of the incident with their cellphones.
It was just unbelievable as the fire-fighters ran out of water just when it appeared they had conquered something that aggravated the situation with the flames now spreading to the embroidery firm’s store room, where their paints are stored.
That is exactly what appeared to be a setback to the fire-fighters as when they returned with more water in their fire engines it appeared they were then fighting a losing battle and had to start afresh putting out the flames.
There were constant explosions within the building, but the fire-fighters never relented in their fight to bring the situation under control.
Driving to and from the Lusushwana River and bringing in back-up from the Manzini Fire Station is what eventually brought the situation under control.
Some Asian nationals that operate the embroidery firm were at a loss of words with what had happened and asked not to comment on the matter.
Workers from the same firm also tried venting their frustrations on the Swazi Observer team when asked how the fire had started, stating that all they were worried about was the possibility of them losing their jobs following the incident.
Fire Department exposed as they run out of water, back-up called
Just when the public thought the fire-fighters had managed to control the raging flames from spreading any further, their fire engines ran out of water.
That is besides that on-lookers confirmed that the fire-fighters arrived at the scene at least 30 minutes after they had been called. This was confirmed by Manzini based Deputy Sheriff Douglas Littler, who said he was the one that made the call to the fire department.
In front of the public, the fire-fighters had to drive their fire engines away from the scene of fire to get more water from the nearest Lusushwana River around Matsapha. That allowed the flames to spread to a storeroom within the embroidery firm where paint is stored and that is what aggravated the situation. By the time the water engines returned, the flames were threatening to spread to other parts of the building. That meant that the fire-fighters had to start afresh in their bid to stop the flames from causing more damage. As if that was not enough, some of the fire-fighters’ hose-pipes had leakages something that obviously reduced the much needed pressure in putting out the raging flames. The arrival of back-up fire engines from the Manzini Fire Station is what eventually saved the situation.
Sheriff, public stops Asian businessman from entering flames to get money
A Manzini based Deputy Sheriff Douglas Littler and some members of the public worked tirelessly in stopping an Asian businessman and owner of the textile embroidery firm, Brothers Embroidery, from entering the building which was in flames in a bid to retrieve some within the burning building.
Clad in a red t-shirt and shorts, the Asian businessman tried to wrestle the members of the public as he wanted to make his way into the burning building. Fortunately, he was saved from entering the flames and possibly injuring himself as there were constant explosions as the fire gained momentum.
A nearby business that is within the same building was fortunately saved from the fire as it was stopped before it could spread to this property.
The company, Aerobrake, had its Directors and staff working tirelessly in removing some stock that was inside the building in fear that the flames would eventually spread to their property.
Affected Brothers Embroidery workers fear losing jobs
Following the flames that glaringly destroyed almost everything within the Brothers Embroidery Firm at the Matsapha Industrial Site, about 20 workers fear they might have no jobs going forward.
It took over an hour for fire-fighters to eventually put out the flames at the firm and while everyone was evacuated on time, but they could not help, but watch their workplace being ravaged by the fire. Almost in tears, the female workers anticipated that they will be without jobs as from this morning. They lamented the situation wondering why such would happen at a time when schools are about to open and they desperately need money to pay school fees for their children.