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Fire Outbreaks in Fort Portal City Blamed on Slum Congestion

Vincent Twesigye, the Rwenzori West Police Spokesperson urged the City leaders to create enough access roads a prerequisite for such incidences. He explains that whenever there is a fire outbreak, the firefighters spend a lot of time trying to reach many of the workshops in the crowded area.
04 Mar 2022 13:00
Fort portal Fire victims begin reconstruction New kiosks

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The fire outbreaks in Fort Portal City have been blamed on the congestion of Kisenyi slum.

Last month, hundreds of traders were left counting losses after a fire gutted several Kiosks in Kisenyi Cell, central division. The fire gutted merchandise, fridges, electronics, timber workshops, and motorcycle spare parts among other items.

This was the third fire incident in two years in the same area. In 2019 fire broke out in the lorry park in Rwengoma Ward. One person was left dead and properties worth millions burnt to ashes.

In early 2020, fire gutted Brightman Executive Lodge. The fire spread to nearby hardware and electronic shops destroying property worth millions.

The slum is a centre of all kinds of businesses ranging from garages, timber workshops, restaurants, lodges and bars, and washing bays. There are also three fuel stations and developers have erected residential houses and lack reliable water sources.

However, the businesses and houses are congested and sub-standard.  One has to squeeze through corridors to find their way through while strangers can easily lose their way.

Samuel Musana the Acting Fort Portal City Physical Planner Fort portal says that illegal structures have cropped up in the area putting the lives of the residents at risk.

He says that there are plans by the government to develop slums but still faces challenges of multiple interests on land.     

Vincent Twesigye, the Rwenzori West Police Spokesperson urged the City leaders to create enough access roads a prerequisite for such incidences. He explains that whenever there is a fire outbreak, the firefighters spend a lot of time trying to reach many of the workshops in the crowded area.

He also says that National Water and Sewage Corporation-NWSC put in place fire hydrant points in the city.   A water hydrant or fire plug is an upright pipe with a nozzle or sprout for drawing from a water main by firefighters.

According to urban physical planning, the plugs are supposed to be located in several strategic areas along the streets to aid quick response of the fire brigade to put off fires.

Denis Muramuzi, the Manager of NWSC Fort Portal Area said the city has only three fire hydrant points in the City.

“We have no problem with adding these power hydrants in the city because this water is metered, however, police are found of misusing this water, especially in dry season through selling it, yet it is intended for a different purpose” Muramuzi revealed.

The City Town Clerk Moses Otimog says that the fire outbreaks in the City especially in slum areas are a wake-up call to the authorities. He says that they ensure that all developments in slim areas follow the physical planning laws.

Edson Ruyonga the Fort Portal City Mayor says that there are plans to relocate the timber workshops to another area to avoid congestion in the slum. He adds that due to the poor housing planning, it is not easy for the police to access fire accident points.

Some of the traders who merchandise want the city authorities to pardon them from paying taxes for six months.

//Cue in indi omu habantu…

Cue out …. temporary structures //

William Mwesige mechanic who lost his spare parts shop wants the government to speed up the process of sending them all the necessary aid to enable them to reconstruct their businesses.

//Cue in: Ndi omu habantu…

Cue out: ekichweka”//

 

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