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Maputsoe factory goes up in flames

…scores left jobless after fire destroys furniture factory

The Jabula Furniture Manufacturers factory building going up in smoke.
The Jabula Furniture Manufacturers factory building going up in smoke.

Mohau Serabele

Jabula Furniture Manufacturers — one of the biggest factories in Maputsoe — went up in flames on Thursday morning, leaving about 30 fulltime employees and several others on contract, jobless.
The fire, which completely destroyed the bed and wardrobe-manufacturing factory, is suspected to have started at around 2am.

Constable Sentle Moupo of the Police Fire and Rescue Division said the police were notified of the blaze at around 2 am on the fateful day.
“We immediately rushed to the scene but when we arrived, the fire was already out of control and had engulfed the whole factory,” he said, adding no one was injured in the incident.
Constable Moupo further said fire-fighters were able to stop the blaze from spreading to nearby factories and shops.

“We have not yet established the exact source of the fire; we are still investigating so we can be absolutely sure,” he said.
“Fires like this one are very common in winter and are usually caused by electric-faults or heaters that are mistakenly left on, when workers knock-off.
“We suspect that could have been the case here but like I said, we need to carry out further investigations so that we can reach a well-informed conclusion.”

The Jabula Furniture Manufacturers manager, Ratia Ratia on Friday told the Sunday Express the fire started in the workshop area of the factory.
“All the timber and machines we used to make wardrobes and beds was destroyed in the fire.
“On Wednesday, the day before the fire, we had received timber and bed-making equipment worth around M500 000, all of which has now been destroyed.”
Mr Ratia said he could not immediately say how much the company had lost following the fire.

“Jabula Furniture Manufacturers employed about 30 workers, and we are not even sure if the factory will re-open because the building itself has been completely destroyed. Everyone has been left helpless here,” Mr Ratia said.

Thabiso Maliba — the Chief Executive Officer of Naleli Funeral Parlour, which is adjacent to the now-destroyed factory — said it was by “sheer luck” that his firm was spared.
“When I received a report that the building was on fire, I was extremely worried. But when I arrived here, I was so happy to find that our property was all fine.”

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