Police Spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo says police are yet to ascertain the cause of the fire that gutted the Lusaka City Market this morning.

In a statement, Katongo revealed that the fire affected the southern part of the market where traders sold stationary and phones.

“Police this morning received with dismay and regret a report of fire which has gutted some stalls at Lusaka’s City market. The fire is reported to have started at about 05:20 hours from one of the shops on the southern part of the market in the area called Dark yellow shops, an area where stationery and mobile phones are sold. A combined team of fire fighters from the Fire Brigade and Zambia Air Force have managed to put out the fire,” Katongo stated.

“In a similar incident, we received another report of fire which occurred in the early hours of today at about six minutes after midnight at Charcoal market in Misisi Compound. The fire is reported to have started from some poly bags and palettes which later spread to bags of charcoal belonging to seven different charcoal traders. Fire brigade was called in and managed to quench the fire. As Police we have instituted investigations in both cases and at the moment we are not ruling out any possibilities.”

Katongo said police were yet to quantify the damage caused.

“Investigations in both cases have since been instituted and we are yet to establish the cause of the fire and quantify the damage caused. Police officers are still guarding the premises to prevent criminals from taking advantage of the situation. We urge members of the public to be calm as Police do their work. We also appeal to anyone who has information that may be helpful in the investigations to report to the nearest Police Station,” stated Katongo.

“It has to be born on our mind that security is a collective responsibility; therefore, any well meaning Zambian or citizen should be security conscious and participate by way of reporting any crime or people that are involved in these clandestine activities.”