From Felix Ikem, Nsukka
Over 20 shops were yesterday gutted by fire in Ogige Main Market,Nsukka, in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The fire incident, which occurred around 12:30pm, led to the destruction of goods and property worth millions of naira in the Phone Villa section of the market.
A source who pleaded anonymity told Daily Sun that the fire might have emanated from one of the shops and spread to others shops.
“I was trekking down from Enugu Road when I saw people shouting fire! fire!.. pointing at the roofs of phone shops in the Ogige Main Market.
“I don’t know what might be the cause of the fire since the shops are all locked because of a set-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra being observed every Monday in the South East,” the source said.
The source said further that over 20 shops were badly affected by the fire, adding that quick intervention of fire fighters from Nsukka Fire Service helped to quell the fire and prevented it from spreading to other sections of the market.
“Over 20 of the shops were badly affected by the fire, most of them are where new phones and phone accessories are sold.
“The situation would have been worse, but for the quick intervention of the men of Nsukka Fire Service who responded immediately and put off the inferno,” the source said.
Mrs. Ngozi Ozioko, the Chairperson of the market, said she was in the house when she started getting distress calls from traders that part of the market was being gutted by fire.
“Immediately I called the fire service office in Nsukka and Enugu who responded immediately. I thank God for their prompt response without which the entire marked would have been destroyed by the inferno,
“No shop inside the market was affected by the fire, only the shops in the Peace Plaza building were affected,” she said.
She, however, expressed concern over what could have been the source of the fire when the shops were under lock and key because of the sit-at-home observed in South East every Monday.
“Nobody is inside the market today because of sit-at-home and more so for the past four days there is no electricity in the market because our transformer developed a fault.
“Unless the traders in that peace Plaza connected light from another place,” she said.
Ozioko, said the market would set up a committee to ascertain the course of the fire outbreak and cost of items destroyed.
When contacted Mr. Okwudili Ohaa, the Chief fire officer in Enugu State,said his men in Nsukka Fire Service immediately rushed to the scene as soon as the office received the distress call.
“Ozioko the Chairperson of Ogige Main Market Nsukka called me to say that there was a fire outbreak in the market and immediately I called our Nsukka and Orba fire fighters to move to the scene.
“Our prompt intervention stopped the fire from spreading to other shops,” he said.
Ohaa, however, said the cause of the fire had not been ascertained but disclosed that he had directed his men to later investigate to find out the cause of the fire.