It was complete wreckage at the Nnewi Timber market, (Nnewi North local government area), Anambra state, as a midnight fire ravaged the entire market destroying goods worth millions of Naira.
The state Chief Fire Officer, Mr Victor Ikokwu, has however confirmed that although no life was lost, six persons were injured and receiving treatment in the hospital.
“What I know is that the fire started from the dustbin here, as early as 10 minutes after one this morning. Our men are here till now fighting the fire.
“No life was lost but we some people were injured. According to the traders, up to five or six men were injured,” Ikokwu said.
Meanwhile, traders, counting their losses have cried out to the state government to intervene and support them financially as well as help relocate them to a better trading site.
Narrating his ordeal, one Mr Chisom James said: “It was yesterday around one am that I got a call that my shop has already been burnt. Immediately I came in here, everywhere was so scattered that I could not even enter my shop. I lost everything entirely.
Another victim, Mr Edwin Nwereka, described the situation as a “very painful” one. “I heard this thing by four o’clock this morning that our line is burning. It is very painful to me.
The cause of the incident has however not been ascertained but some of the traders believe it is the hand work of some “bad boys” in the area that smoke Indian hemp.
On the other hand, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, Johnson Kokuma, said the fire service team would investigate the matter.
According to other eye-witness accounts, “the inferno had gotten to an advanced stage before the arrival of the Fire service team.
And although they tried hard to quench it, all efforts proved abortive as a result of the nature of the structures in the market, causing the fire to spread fast, destroying many stalls.
The state government through the Ministry of Information has however sympathized with the timber market traders and assured them that adequate measures would be put in place to avert future occurrences.