Fire Guts over 250 Shops in Nnewi Food Stuff Market

By Ikeugonna Eleke

No fewer than 250 shops have been destroyed by fire at Obi Isiedo Foodstuff Market, Okpuno-Egbu, Umudim, in Nnewi, Anambra State.

The shops were gutted by fire on Saturday night (New Year), just as eyewitnesses said the fire started around 10pm in one of the shops in the market and later spread to many others.

A source said, ‘The owners of the shops left their goods and some cash with which to continue business after the Christmas and New Year festivities.

‘Over seven water tankers were mobilized, including other individual efforts, to the scene which could not stop the fire.

A resident near the market whose house was razed, Rev Chinedu Dike, said no one could explain what caused the fire.

He added, ‘As you can see, my house is near the market. I came back from some functions and was taking my rest when around 9.30 pm we heard an outcry that the market was on fire.

‘People started running helter-skelter, looking for help and water tanker suppliers were contacted who mobilized up to seven tanks of water to quench the fire to no avail.

‘Fire fighters came but the fire was already advanced. Goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed. My two-storey building under construction was about to be consumed but I struggled to save the situation and received some bruises in the process,’ he said.

Dike put the figure of the burnt shops at between 250 and 300 stocked with goods.

He appealed to the Anambra State Government, organizations and individuals, to come to the rescue of the fire victims. He said the help would be a big relief to the victims if it could come early.

Meanwhile, the Director of Anambra Fire Service, Martin Agbili, an Engineer, confirmed the incident.

He said no life was lost in the fire, which, he said, started at about 10pm on Saturday, and we were able to put off the fire. He thanked the public, security agencies and my men too, for ensuring the safety of the residents