By Ike Uchechukwu
CALABAR—Many shed tears uncontrollably, yesterday, at the sight of houses and blocks of shops gutted by fire at Eyo Edem axis of the popular Watt market in Calabar South.
Residents, who lamented their fate over the inferno, told Vanguard that about six houses with household items and four shops in the market were also affected.
Caretaker Committee Chairman for Calabar South, Mr Mbo Bassey, who confirmed the incident, said it was difficult to establish the cause of the fire, which started at about 2 am and that property worth millions of naira were lost to the inferno.
His words : “Although there was no light (electricity) Monday night when the shops closed, but were surprised the fire consumed six houses and four shops.
“I want to strongly believe that one of the tailoring shops or the saloon had left an electrical appliance on before going home, which ignited the fire when the power was later restored in early hours of this morning (yesterday).”
A victim living in one of the houses destroyed,simply identified as Etim, said he lost all his household items, which he said took him many years to acquire.
He appealed to Cross River State government and State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, to come to their aid as they have lost everything.
Another victim, Moses Enobong, said he contacted Fire Service but nothing much was done.
Moses said: “We contacted the State Fire Service, and they responded quickly but nothing much was done due to poor equipment they were using.
He called on the state government to equip the fire agency with functional fire-fighting tools to help during emergencies.
In a telephone interview, Public Relations Officer of the State Fire Service, Cletus Makpere, said: “Fire men were called at about 2:30 am yesterday, it happened at Eyo Edem Watt market. Our men were there and were able to bring the fire under control.The cause of the fire is still under investigations.”