Multi-million naira worth of goods have been destroyed when fire gutted some shops at a timber market known as Ogbo Osisi Bridgehead Market in Onitsha, Anambra State.
It was gathered that the incident happened late on Saturday and about 28 large shops jointly shared the premises.
According to the Chairman, Bridgehead Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, Chinedu Ezekwike, the fire, started at one of the shops and then spread rapidly to others due to the highly combustible materials, including machines and equipment of different types.
Ezekwike, who spoke to journalists on the scene on Sunday, said the fire ignited as a result of some sparks from smoothing machines used in smoothening some finished wood products like doors and chairs.
He added that the tongues of sparklings fell into a heap of wooden dust and gathered momentum with the assistance of the harmattan, thereby spreading the fire.
He, however, noted that traders in the market battled to control the inferno before the arrival of the state fire service men who battled to put off the fire.
While lamenting the total cost of damages, he called on the state government to assist the fire victims in getting back to business soonest.
Confirming the incident, the state Chief Fire Officer, Martin Agbili said he immediately dispatched his men as soon as he got a distress call from members of the public.
“At about 1930hrs of 10-12-2022, Anambra State Fire Service received a distress call of a heavy fire outbreak at Ogbo Osisi (Timber Market) Onitsha by GUO Plaza.
“Immediately, we deployed our fire truck and firefighters to the fire scene. We battled the fire, controlled and fought it to a standstill.
“The cause of the fire was unknown. Although, the fire destroyed some shops but no life was lost during the inferno.
We must know that we are at the peak of the harmattan. Avoid anything which can cause fire outbreak at this season,” Agbili added.
In a similar development, a building located at Obuofu Umuike, near Oluchukwu Bread Industry, Awka, was also gutted by fire on Sunday.
Agbili, who confirmed this to journalists, said the cause of the fire was a power surge, adding that the fire destroyed the building with its properties.
He said, “At about 10.32 am on Sunday, we received a distress call at Obuofu Umuike near Oluchukwu Bread Industry, Awka. Immediately, we deployed our fire truck and firefighters to the fire scene where we battled the fire and fought it to a standstill.
“Although, the fire damaged the property but we were able to save many surrounding houses and prevented the fire from spreading over to other buildings. There was no loss of life during the fire outbreak.”