By Tony Edike
ENUGU—A mysterious fire yesterday destroyed over 100 shops and property worth over N300 million at the Timber Market in Enugu.
Heavy duty wood working machines, giant generators, doors and timbers were among the items destroyed in the fire.
At the time of filling this report, the cause of the inferno which started at about 1.30 am was yet to be ascertained.
Some traders who spoke on the incident, attributed the fire to occultic manipulations of some of their colleagues in the market.
A trader who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “Each time this fire occurs, some people will become rich overnight, they use this fire which occurs every year in this market to make more money.” .
An eyewitness said the swift intervention of men of the Enugu State Fire Service prevented the fire from consuming the entire market.
It was gathered that all the fire fighting vehicles in Enugu were deployed to contain the ravaging fire which had earlier resisted the efforts of the only fire fighting vehicle stationed at the market by the government.
Mr Onyebuchi Obiorah, a trader in the market narrated that the fire “ started between 1.30am and 2am and destroyed properties worth over N300 Million”.
“ I saw the fire while it was still on , but I must commend the fire fighting men from the Enugu State Fire Service for their prompt intervention.
“The fire would have spread to other lines if they did not respond promptly, I suspect it is man made, although many people are saying that some people evoke the fire. I am calling on the government to fence the market and give us more security,” said Onyebuchi who is also a student of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT.
A senior official of the Enugu State Fire Service, Mr Joseph Nnaji, said there was need to train security personnel at the market on elementary ways to stop fire disaster.
He disclosed that one of the security men at the market informed the fire service of the fire at about 2am, adding that they responded swiftly afterwards.
According to him, the decision to involve all the fire fighting vehicles in Enugu followed the stubbornness of the fire which he said would have spread to all the lines in the market if the decision was not taken.
Chairman of the Enugu Timber Market Union, Chief Chukwuonu Goodwin Arinze, confirmed that the fire destroyed over 100 shops and destroyed properties worth millions of naira.
He recalled that a similar fire occurred in the market in March this year and destroyed properties worth millions of naira, saying that till date, the cause of the fire was yet to be unraveled.
Arinze regretted that the fire occurred on the day the union’s election was to hold, adding that they had reported to Uwani Police Station, Enugu for investigations.
He called on the National Emergency Management Agency to come to the rescue victims of the fire disaster to cushion the effects of the huge losses.