…We lost four persons, over 150 shops in Tuesday’s inferno – Traders
WITH just one day after fire gutted parts of chemical dealers’ section of Onitsha Bridge Head Market, disaster was averted in the same market by prompt arrival of fire officers from Anambra and Delta States who put off an inferno that broke out yesterday morning.
Though nobody was able to say where the fire started from, let alone what cause it, there are indications that it may have resulted from Tuesday’s incident.
Addressing newsmen over the development, Publicity Secretary of Bridge Head Market Traders Association, Peter Okala said the previous leadership in the market should be blamed.
“We came to the market this morning and discovered that the fire has started again and because the Fire Service men were there since yesterday, the fire could not continue and the fire service had to fight it to the end.
The problem we have in the market is that past leadership of the market did nothing to protect the market despite the huge revenue that they were collecting.
Also all the exit routes in the market have been blocked with the construction of illegal structures and shops hence when incidents like this happen people are trapped and that explains the number of deaths and casualties during the fire incident,” he said.
Meanwhile, traders in the market have continued to count their losses in the fire disaster that struck the market on Tuesday with many saying that no fewer than four persons died and 20 others injured.
The traders also said that over 150 shops were burnt with good worth billions of naira.
A trader who gave his name as Mr. Uchenna Ekeh said the incident led to the stampede which resulted in deaths and injuries.
“We were in our shops as usual when we heard a loud noise like a bomb blast and we saw thick smokes from some shops upstairs and everyone started running for safety.
Then people started shouting for help; we saw people carrying bodies of people from those shops that were on fire. Some were badly burnt, while others seemed to have been suffocated by the smoke and the stampede.
We don’t know how much was lost to the fire, but it can be estimated at N850m to about N1bn because the goods are strong chemical products that are highly inflammable,” he said.