CHRISMAR Hotel’s poolside bar and restaurant has been gutted.
The hotel is owned by President Edgar Lungu’s close friend Valden Harry Findlay.
According to a hotel worker who spoke on condition of anonymity, the fire started around 12:00 hours but the Livingstone Fire Station could not attend to the emergency in time.
“The fire started as a result of a deep-fryer heating and the cooking oil which was in it burst into flames. When fire caught the restaurant’s grass thatched roof, we turned to our fire extinguishers but we were overwhelmed by the heat,” the source said. “We called the fire station but they delayed in picking up our distress calls and this forced our electrician to actually drive over 10 kilometres to the fire station to summon the fire-fighters.”
The source felt had the fire brigade responded quick enough, much of the poolside bar and restaurant would have been saved.
The source added that while some workers were struggling to try and extinguish the fire using extinguishers, others salvaged some electrical items that could be moved out of the restaurant.
“We also realised that to save some restaurant tables and chairs, dumping them into the swimming pool was a best resort. Sadly, when the fire fighters arrived at the hotel, some fire tenders ran out of water and the officers resorted to sucking the pool water into the engines,” the source added.