lmo traders count losses after mystery fire razed over 200 shops


Property and goods worth billions of naira have been destroyed by fire at a popular timber market, along Wethedral Road in Owerri, the state capital.


Our correspondent spoke to some of the traders in Owerri, on Monday and gathered that the inferno, which started at 1:30 am on Saturday, December 24, destroyed over 200 shops and goods worth over four billion naira.


The traders and residents were seen trying to salvage what they could from their shops even as the fire was still raging in some parts of the market as of 1 pm on Monday, despite efforts by operatives of the Federal Fire Service to quench it.


An eye witness, Mr Chinioke Osuji, avowed that the inferno affected over 200 shops, with one of the traders losing 13 industrial machines, each worth six million naira.


The cause of the inferno was yet to be ascertained.


A trader who spoke anonymously said; “I lost my two industrial machines and other items. We didn’t take out a single pin from the shops. Everything was lost. This is unbearable.”


He said: “This is a black Christmas for us. We don’t know where to go from here. Nobody knows the cause of the outbreak. We lost over four billion naira here.”


Mr Benjamin Onyewuchi, an eye witness, said that several efforts made by firefighters to quench the fire proved abortive as it kept raging strongly.


He also appealed to Governor Hope Uzodimma to come to the aid of the victims in whatever way possible to ameliorate their plight.


When newsmen contacted the Zonal Public Relations Officer of the Federal Fire Service, Zone J (Imo and Abia), Mr Mike Anowa, he described the accident as unfortunate and explained that the actual cause of the inferno and the resultant losses are yet to be ascertained.

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