From Okey Sampson, Umuahia and Joseph Obukata, Warri
Barely a few hours after fire gutted a storey building housing shops in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, Saturday afternoon, fire again razed homes and shops in Umuahia, the state capital.
The Umuahia fire, which was said to have started around 11pm on Saturday night, gutted some residential buildings and shops along old Timber Market Road, World Bank Housing Estate, Umuahia, destroying property worth millions of naira.
It was gathered that the incident reportedly occurred after the EEDC restored power to the area. The caretaker of the affected buildings, James Chinkwe Awom, who spoke to journalists, gave the number of affected shops as four, as well as his two-bedroom apartment.
Awom said all efforts made by neighbours and passers-by to bring the fire under control were unsuccessful before the arrival of the Abia State Fire Service.
A tailor whose shop was affected by the fire, said he lost six sewing machines, at N150,000 each, two generators, customers’ clothes and other valuables to the inferno.
A lady who worked in a pool office in the area affected by the fire lamented that cash and other valuables in the shop, including her school certificates, were lost to the fire. The victims, therefore, appealed to the state government, good-spirited individuals, and the general public to come to their aid to enable them to began life afresh.
Director of Abia State Fire Service, Mr. Arua Nnanna, expressed regret over the incident.
He said the quick intervention of his men saved other nearby buildings from being affected by the fire incident. He appealed that people should always equip their homes with fire extinguishers in case of emergencies.
In another development , a Sunday afternoon fire also destroyed goods and properties worth millions of naira at the popular Ogbe-Ijoh market in Warri South LGA of Delta State.
Although details of how the fire started were still sketchy as at press time, traders resorted to self-help trying to salvage their goods and properties from the market located opposite Eco Bank and near another main market in Warri.
Daily Sun gathered that Ogbe-Ijoh market had been infamous for cases of fire incidents. The market is adjudged as one of the largest fish markets in the Southern part of Nigeria.
A witness who gave her name as Tamara, said they suddenly saw fire balls emanating from the market square in the afternoon prompting residents to rushed to the scene.
“We don’t know exactly how the fire started but we suspect the fire was set up by someone who was trying to burn something but it escalated to the market”, she said.
The scene was besieged by residents and traders who were seen helping the state fire service men who were on the scene battling the raging inferno.
Some residents who spoke to Daily Sun , said the fire was sparked by a visibly insane woman who was spotted cooking at a refuse dump in the market.
A trader Mrs. Philomena Ona, told newsmen that the fire started around 2:pm and spread to the foodstuff section of the market, destroying perishable and non perishable items in the market stalls.
“A mad woman was gathering things in the debris, at a time we saw her set up fire to cook but the fire later spread probably because of the dry weather”, she said.
As at time of filling this report around 5;pm, the fire service men had run out of water to battle the inferno which was still ranging widely. There was no casualty from the fire incident but traders were seen counting their loses.