By Chinenyeh Ozor
NSUKKA—MIDNIGHT fire outbreak at Nsukka Industrial Market, Enugu State, last Tuesday, razed down goods worth over N50 million, including six cars parked close to the affected shops for repairs at the market.
Vanguard gathered that the fire started around 5am and razed four shops before the intervention of fire service men that controlled it from extending to other shops in the market.
The four affected shops included two automobile electrical and two motor mechanics shops .
Investigations revealed that nobody at the market could give account of how the fire started as there was power outage for over two weeks at the industrial market and both technicians and traders have closed for the day only to be alerted in the early hours of Tuesday by the security men that the market was in flames.
Speaking to journalists at the market, one of the affected shop owners, Mr. Christopher Ozulu, an automobile electrician said that he lost all his life savings and labour of over 30 years that he has been in business at the market, adding that he is a father of eight children with four in the university.
Enumerating what he lost to the fire outbreak, Ozulu said, “ I lost two big Lister generators which I use as a source of electricity for my business, 200 motor batteries both for sale and repairs and those I was charging for my numerous customers. I lost over 100 pieces of key starters, several drums of diluted and undiluted acid, one deep freezer, land documents and other valuables I normally keep at my safe in the shop, together with the building. What I lost to the fire is over N20 million.
“ I am appealing to both Nsukka local government council chairman and Enugu state government to come my aid and that of my neighbours affected in the incident. The four of us will have to start life afresh as we lost all we laboured for in life, including property of our customers”
Another victim of the fire incident, Mr. Isiogu Nwabueze said that five Mercedes Benz cars parked for repairs at his shop were burnt beyond recognition together with two tokunbo motor engines among other items.
“What pains me most is my customers’ vehicles that were razed to ashes. How do I go about it? If they asked me to give them their cars, what do I do? The cost of the five Mercedes Benz cars should be close to N3 million. Where will I raise that kind of cash?” He lamented.
Another mechanic, Onyeka Ugwu said that he lost two engine gears of his customers, shafts and other numerous items to the fire.
“ I can’t tell how the fire started. My apprentice called me on phone and told me that our shop is on fire. I rushed out but before my arrival, the four shops close to one another have been razed down completely. I started crying while the fire fighting men battle to save other shops close to ours” he said.
“ I am appealingly to government authorities, churches, donor agencies, philanthropic individuals and corporate organisations to come our aid before we die of hypertension .”
Mr. Ugwuanyi Nnaemeka, another automobile electrician said one Golf 3 belonging to his customer was consumed by the fire while every other thing in his shop was burnt to ashes.
“ I did not pick a pin out of my shop. My computer scanning machine, , batteries and other goods worth over N2 million and my big generating engine were burnt. None of my customers has come for his property” he noted.
“We resign our faith to God who knows the best. We are appealing for help while asking good spirited individuals to remember us in prayers as life begins afresh for the four of us at the market” he cried.
Contacted for comment, the chairman of the Industrial market, Chief Silas Eze said the fire incident was shocking as all the property inside and outside the four affected shops were completely razed.