The inferno destroyed goods worth billions of naira
Traders and industrialists at the Polythene Products Market site, Ekenedili Chukwu Workshop Complex, Ilodibe Avenue, Awada, in Onitsha, are counting their losses after a midnight inferno gutted shops, machines and raw materials in the market.
According to a Daily Sun report, chairman of the Polythene Products Dealers Association in the area, Elder Anthony Ubakasi, in an emotion-laden tone, said that they have already closed for the business of the day when they got information through phone around midnight that the market was on fire.
He said the fire actually started around 11:00p.m, on Wednesday night, following an electric spark when public power supply was restored in the area but the fear of electrocution from a live cable at the frontage of the market made it impossible for them to enter the site and see whether they could salvage any goods or machinery.
Ubakasi noted that the Okpoko Fire Service Station was upon called for rescue operation but, alleged that they came with an empty water tank.
He narrated that they later called the Ogidi section which responded and tried to put off the fire after a large chunk of the market had been burnt.
Though some portion of the market was still burning as at Thursday afternoon when our reporter visited the place, Ubakasi maintained that it was the efforts of the Ogidi Fire Service that prevented the fire from consuming the entire large market.
Estimating the extent of damages already incurred from the incident, he noted that raw materials and several industrial machines damaged in the inferno costs about One billion naira even as he lamented that the victims of the February 26 , 2017 fire incident in the area are yet to recover fully from their losses.
One of the victims, Christian Chuks Uzoh, called on Governor Willie Obiano to come to the aid of the victims, noting that most of the multi-purpose equipment in the market like Blowing, Cutting, Punching, Printing and Injection machines, which some of them purchased with bank loans, had been destroyed completely in the fire.
He also appealed to the state government to give them a permanent site that would reduce their clusters in their present location which makes them prone to suffering collective losses whenever there is any disaster.
The traders also blamed the power distribution company for the erratic power supply in the area which they said had exposed them to intermittent electric surge and sparks which had been causing fire outbreaks in the area while they deal on highly inflammable products.