Last Sunday, at around 5 pm, a fire broke out at the Akwa shopping center in Douche municipale, Douala I. The fire department, supported by law enforcement officers, battled well into the night before succeeding in extinguishing the flames. Images of the fire shared online testify to the violence of the blaze. The fire ravaged several shops but some shopowners tried to salvage what they could.
According to local authorities, no human lives were lost, but merchandise worth several millions was destroyed. "The toll is pretty heavy," the Littoral region’s governor Samuel Dieudonné Ivaha Diboua told State-tv CRTV when visiting the market after the fire. The store had once been ravaged by flames back in 2013 and all the goods and hardware burnt to ashes.
An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the fire. Fires in retail spaces are a recurrent occurrence in Cameroon, raising questions about the governance and quality of retail facilities in the country. Faulty electrical installations, blocked drainage easements, overcrowded premises, etc. are presented as the main fire risk factors, in markets particularly.