There was pandemonium at a building housing the People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB) and other businesses in Masvingo Central Business District after one of the offices caught fire.
This prompted temporary evacuation of the building for about one hour just before midday yesterday, bringing business at the premises to a halt.
The fire, suspected to have been sparked by an electrical fault, started in the second floor offices owned by TAM Chartered Accountants, where it destroyed property — mainly office furniture.
The building is owned by CAI Pension Fund. POSB is located on the ground floor of the building.
Swift reaction by the Masvingo Fire Brigade stopped the fire from spreading to the rest of the building that also houses Zinara, TelOne and Leviticus Investments among other small businesses.
Banking operations resumed normally in the POSB banking hall after about an hour as the Masvingo Fire Brigade was busy dousing the fire to stop it from spreading to other buildings
When The Herald arrived at the scene, the firefighters were busy battling to contain the inferno with thick black smoke coming out of the second floor offices of TAM Chartered Accountants.
Operations in the banking hall proceeded normally with customers conducting their transactions until the close of business.
This is contrary to fibs that flooded social media to the effect that depositors demanding their money had set the financial institution’s premises on fire.
However, doors leading to TAM Chartered Accountants offices in the second floor were locked with an armed police officer standing guard over the charred remains.
An airtime vendor who witnessed the start of the fire, said the inferno might have been sparked by an electrical fault in TAM Chartered Accountants offices.
‘’We heard that there were some sparks that started on an electrical socket in the TAM offices, which then caught fire and we started to see thick black smoke coming out of the windows forcing people to flee from the building,’’ said the woman who preferred to remain anonymous.
Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Charity Mazula said investigations to establish the cause of the fire were ongoing.
‘’We are still gathering the full details of what exactly transpired at the building that caught fire. Our teams are on the ground conducting investigations and the actual extent of the damage cause by the fire,’’ said Insp Mazula.