Traders count losses as fire razes Onitsha drug market

Posted by Ifeoma Okafor, Awka | 17 December 2017 | 1,489 times

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•Raging market fire

Tragedy struck the city of Onitsha on Saturday as goods worth millions of Naira were gutted by fire at the drug market popularly known as Bridge Head Market.

News Express gathered that the fire incident started at about 6am from Redemption Line of the market.

It was learnt that the timely intervention of the men of the Fire Service from Onitsha main market and the Building Materials Market in Ogidi prevented the fire from spilling over to other parts of the market.

When our correspondent got to the market, traders were seen standing in clusters clearing their shops of rubble and counting their losses, while a few who could not contain the damage stood by their shops looking dazed.

According to a victim of the fire incident, no life was lost in the incident, but goods and cash lost in the disaster were massive.

Chidubem Uzochukwu, who had been trading in the market for some years, told our correspondent that he lost N700,000 cash and goods worth over N15 million.

Narrating the incident, the President of Association of Medical and Pharmaceutical Products Dealers Onitsha Market, Mr. Uche Eze said he was called by market security men at about 6.15am  on Saturday that there was fire outbreak at Redemption Line and he quickly called men of the Fire Service from Onitsha Main Market and Building Material Market Ogidi.

He said: “I alerted members of my executive, who responded immediately and were able to quench the fire to avoid it spreading to the entire market.

“When I arrived at the market the fire was still raging, members of my executive were also there with me, including the President General of Bridge Head Markets Association, Mr. Sunday Obinze; and Chairman of Redemption Line and his Secretary, Alvin Okpaleke, all helping the Fire Service officials to quench the fire,” he said.

He explained that several shops were affected and millions of Naira both in cash and goods were lost to this fire, saying that the entire market would have been gutted if not for their quick intervention.

He added: “You can see for yourself the debris left in the shops. The owners equipped their shops with goods for the Christmas sales, but you can see what has happened.

“The whole market would have been engulfed by the fire if not for our prompt response in calling the fire fighting men from both markets.

“It is unfortunate that the entire Bridge Head Markets Association has no fire service facility to tackle this kind of problem.”

While calling on Governor Willie Obiano to come to the assistance of the affected traders, Eze said that the victims had lost all they had been working for over the years in just one incident. He therefore appealed that the market be provided with fire service equipment.

Source: News Express

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