By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Mystery fire razed over 200 shops erected on the rubble of the earlier burnt Jos main market, Plateau State.
The cause of the fire, officials and the victims could not say, but, while some people said the fire started at about 1.30am, the state Fire Service said it got a call around 12.30am and got to the scene at about 12.45am. The affected shops deal mostly in second-hand clothing, bags, shoes, among others.
At the time Sunday Vanguard visited the market at about 8am, yesterday, smoke was still emitting from the area though the state Fire Service had battled to put out the flames and some shop owners were seen in groups discussing the incident while some were searching through the rubbles to see what they could salvage.
Speaking at the scene, the state Commissioner of Police, Adie Undie, the Management Committee Chairman of Jos North local government area, Mr. Philip Nyam, and the Chairman, Traders’ Association, Abdulrahman Yussuf explained what they knew about the incident.
According to the CP, “This incident happened in the wee hours. My DPO in-charge of this area got a report and he promptly alerted me and we equally alerted the state Fire Service and they too did not waste time. They mobilized their men but because of the location of this point of incident, it made it difficult for the Fire Service to promptly put out the fire and avoid the kind of damage that we have here.
The Deputy Director of the state Fire Service, Mr. Samuel Musa, said, “Our men were called around 12.45am to a scene of fire within the premises of the former burnt down Main market, the Terminus area, there are some makeshifts shops they made there and they are selling second hand clothes majorly around that area. It is in the second hand cloth section that the fire started, since around 1.45am up to 10.15 am that our men disengaged, they were able to control the fire. The severity of the situation is yet to be assessed; we are going there to assess the situation.”
The Committee Chairman of Jos North, Mr. Nyam, whose local government hosts the market, added, “My attention was drawn around 2am about this incident. My heart goes out to the traders who lost their valuables and we appreciate the swift response of the Fire Service and the Police who have been on top of the situation since the incident happened. You can see they have cordoned-off the area to avoid situation where looting will take place. Again, the Fire Service has done much to contain the situation, you can see the market is large but they salvage the situation by their timely response, you can see their efforts”.