By Lerato Ndlovu
COTTCO on Sunday lost at least 85 bales of cotton after a truck ferrying the crop from a buying point in Rafingora to their Chinhoyi ginnery caught fire along the Chinhoyi – Chegutu highway.
Chinhoyi municipality was notified of the incident but failed to come to the rescue as the municipality’s fire truck is out of service.
Cottco personnel tried to rescue the bales but failed to save the crop.
Witnesses told Bustop TV that the driver was alerted of smoke coming from his trailer a few metres before pulling off the road.
“The trailer was smoking, and we had to shout for him to stop, that’s when he pulled off the road, to check on what people were shouting about, that’s when he realised that the whole load was on smoke.
“We helped him remove the tank and unhook the trailer from the horse, as a way of avoiding a blast from occurring at the site”, they said.
“Cottco team came as fast as they could, but it was all in vain.”
The truck driver who was still in shock said he had travelled more than 100 kilometres from Rafingora and suspected exhaust fumes had caused the fire.
“Fellow drivers sensed danger from the smoke exhibited from the trailer and alerted me before I could get to the ginnery, and to think of it I had driven more than 100 kilometres from Rafingora to Chinhoyi, and only to see danger when I was almost at my destination.
“I suspect the fire was caused by exhaust fumes, from the exhaust pipe, which faces the truck trailer,” said the driver.
Chinhoyi Municipality spokesperson, Tichaona Mlauzi said the local council’s fire truck was out of service while plans were stirring for a brand-new truck.
Officials at the scene stated that about 25 000 kilogrammes were destroyed and costed more than $2 million. Cottco’s public relations officer, Ms Victoria Motomba was not available to comment.