'Lightning strike' causes fire at Rwandan hotel

Friday March 16 2018

Lightning flashes during a storm.

Lightning flashes during a storm. At least 16 people were killed and dozens injured after lightning struck an SDA church in Rwanda on March 10, 2018. PHOTO | FILE | AFP 

EDMUND KAGIRE
By EDMUND KAGIRE
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Lightning struck a popular holiday resort in Bugesera District, south of Kigali, and is suspected to have led to a fire that gutted down cottages and property worth millions of francs on Thursday evening.

According to Bugesera officials, no one was injured when the incident occurred during an afternoon downpour.

“It is highly suspected that lightning struck and caused a short-circuit which resulted into the fire. Luckily no one died or sustained injuries,” the Mayor of Bugesera, Emmanuel Nsanzumuhire told The EastAfrican.

He said the authorities are yet to investigate the cause of the fire.

Workers at the La Palisse Hotel said lightning hit a cottage igniting the fire.

“The fire spread fast despite the rain, mainly because the cottages were grass-thatched. We tried to put it out but failed,” an employee of the hotel told The EastAfrican.

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The 3-star resort on the shores of Lake Gashora, 55km south of the capital, is a popular destination for city dwellers.

Lightning incidents have been recorded in several districts across the country and have so far claimed the lives of 27 people since January.

The most affected districts are in the Southern and Western provinces.

Last weekend lightning hit a church in the Nyaruguru District in the Southern Province killing 16 people.

According to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, at least 33 people have been killed in weather-related disasters this year, 27 of them by lightning.

The government has urged citizens to take precaution by staying off electrical appliances as well as phones during heavy downpours.