Bonhomme House along Main North 1 Road in Maseru was gutted by fire yesterday afternoon, leaving two people seriously injured and property worth thousands of maloti destroyed.
A tenant in the office complex, Teboho Makhoathi, told the Sunday Express the fire started in a room on the second floor of the congested building.
“I saw smoke coming from a room in which they sew goods such as comforters, sheets and curtains on the second floor and where my office is also situated,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the people who use the room are not at work today, and we don’t really know how the fire started because the place was locked.”
Mr Makhoathi said after realising there was a fire, he immediately alerted other tenants before he scrambled for safety.
“Someone then called the police for help and we started to evacuate the building since the flames were getting stronger because they were burning the wooden doors and ceiling. The smoke was also spreading in the building.”
He said the police brought a vehicle with a fire extinguisher, but it was of no use because they did not have water.
“The Lesotho Defence Force then stepped in with their fire extinguishing vehicle and worked together with the police to put out the blaze,” said Mr Makhoathi.
“While the fire experts were trying to put out the fire, two ladies who were trapped in the building decided to jump through the window from the second floor.
“They were both seriously injured and immediately taken to the hospital after one broke her foot and ankle while the other one sustained injuries to the spine.”
He said occupants of the first-floor offices were able to salvage their belongings, whilst most of the property in the second floor was damaged by the fire and water that was used to douse the flames.
For his part, police spokesperson Superintendent Clifford Molefe, who was at the scene of the fire, said it was too early to comment on the matter as investigations were still ongoing.
“I don’t have much to say about the incident because it has just happened. The police are currently busy probing the scene and I don’t have any details of what caused the fire or the cost of the damage,” Sup Molefe said.