Onitsha—Traders at the Bright Street section of Onitsha Main Market are now counting their losses, following last Tuesday night fire that gutted goods worth millions of naira at the market.
The fire, according to a source, started at about 9.45 pm on the first floor of one of the storey buildings and destroyed some warehouses which were allegedly stocked with rice, chemicals and other spiritual materials worth over N50 million.
The source, however, noted that the inferno did not affect other shops located on the ground floor.
One of the eye-witnesses, Mike Okongwu, said when the fire started at that odd hour, a vigilante man guarding the area saw smoke coming out from one of the shops when it became unbearable, he alerted the chairman of the street traders, Ifeanyi Chukwudum (Ifetex), who immediately contacted the police for a dispatch of some policemen to the scene.
At the scene of the incident, fire fighters from Onitsha Main market and their counterpart from Okpoko Fire Service Station were on ground to contain the inferno from spreading its tentacles.
The Fire Officer, Okpoko Fire Service Station, Ogbaru Local Government, Mrs. Mary Affah, said her men arrived the scene about fifteen minutes later on receiving a phone call over the fire outbreak, even as she noted that the cause of the fire incident was yet unknown.
She disclosed that two of her fire officers sustained various degrees of injuries while attempting to put out the fire.
When contacted, chairman Bright Street Traders Association and Governor’s Liaison Officer for Onitsha North Local Government, Chief Chukwudum, emphasized the need for all the shops to have custody of fire extinguisher.
He, however, commended soldiers, the police and the vigilante operatives for maintaining orderliness through out the night.