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Fire guts furniture shops in Lilongwe

Fire guts down property LILONGWE--Fire has gutted furniture shops in the capital, Lilongwe, destroying goods worth millions of kwacha. Eye-witnesses say the fire started around midnight Saturday from one of the shops and quickly spread to other shops.

"We suspect an electrical fault," said an eye witness. Millions worth of furniture, tools and money went up in flames during the three hours the inferno raged. The shops are popular for making coffins and furniture.

No one was, however, injured during the fire, according to police. "I have been set back many years," said a shop owner who identified himself and Manyeka. "All my tools and finished work are gone."

Fire fighters arrived the scene after an hour but could not contain the fire. Ngwire Mkandawire, area manager for the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM), said the commission would investigate if the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

"We have asked each one of the shop owners to write us a report," he said.

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