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Bamenda: Mysterious Fire Destroys Top Star Hotel

The fire as seen from Mile II

The four storey 2-star hotel, Top Star at the Mobil-Junction Nkwen has been razed by a mysterious fire on Monday June 5, 2017, pulling a huge crowd who watched helplessly as the fire rapidly spread from the super-market section, spreading into the bakery, kitchen, conference and hotel rooms, completely consuming the entire content of the building.

The prompt intervention of the police’s water cannons stationed at the Veterinary Junction and Hospital Roundabout helped killed the initial inferno that had engulfed the building, pumping up plumes of thick grey smoke that could be seen almost everywhere across Bamenda and beyond. It took several minutes after the police had intervened before the Army Rescue Unit arrived the scene to help in extinguishing the fire, whereas gendarmerie water cannon stationed less than 200 metres from the scene remained grounded despite the ravaging fire spreading fast across the floors of the building.

 The SDO for Mezam, Songa Pierre Rene accompanied by the D.O for Bamenda III, Takang Ayuck Walters, the regional delegate for National Security, Gusmo Emile and the Colonel incharge of the Gendarmerie Bayegue Guy arrived the scene shortly after the fire broke out. The police and gendarmes used their vehicles to cordon the area, blocking all road access through Mobil-Nkwen from Cow Street, Ghana Street and from Mile II Junction.

A receptionist at the hotel, Dinga Raymond said the fire started about 3:16 pm when he noticed smoke spiraling out of the supermarket section, immediately he alerted his boss and signaled for help. A colleague at the hotel also told Bamenda Online that there was nothing flammable in the building but for four gas cylinders that were successfully taken out of the building before the fire engulfed it. The hotel was not open and there was one guest who was successfully evacuated.

The four story Building was completely destroyed

The security forces used the vehicles to barricade the roads to prevent looting

The police played a lot to vanquish the fire

Both employees of the hotel said they don’t work on ghost town days (popularly called country-Sunday) and had never received any written or verbal threats for opening on ghost town days. They also confirmed that there was no electrical short circuit, leaving everyone including the police to wonder what could have caused the fire.

Nothing valuable was successfully rescued from the building, leaving almost its entire content to be swallowed up by fire. The exact financial estimate of the damage is yet to be known.

As thousands of onlookers trooped into Nkwen from all over town on a ghost-town day on foot and on motorbikes, tongues have begun to wag. Some say it’s only an ordinary fire accident, others see arson behind it, either from the notorious “ghost town fire department” or from the opponent and business rivals of the owner, and for others, is truly mysterious and could have been recrimination or reward from a secret society. Whatever the cause, it may be difficult to ascertain the exact cause of the fire without forensic evidence.

By Abongwa Fozo.

 

 

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