By Dennis Agbo
Generators, servicing some shops in Ogbete main market on Friday, set fire in a part of Ogbete main market, Enugu.
A trader in the market, Mr. Anene Chima, told Vanguard that even though no particular shop was lost to the infeno, mattresses worth millions of Naira were lost to the fire outbreak.
“The fire started at about 2pm. The cause was the power generating sets which the market union mandated every owner to keep on top the shops which are decking’s.
“There were about three generating sets there and mattresses being sold are equally packed up in that decking. So it was the heat from those generating sets which were close to the mattresses that set the mattress on fire.
“No shop was gutted by fire but all the mattresses on tops were all burnt. What saved the day was the fire service training that the market traders received in December just before Christmas.
“We used the fire extinguishers provided in the market to combat the fire before the Fire service came,” Chima said.
Enugu State Chief Fire Officer, Mr. Okwudiri Ohaa told Vanguard that Ogbete Main market nearly went up in flames but for the prompt response of combined efforts of the State Fire service, traders and market security personnel.
Ohaa said that what could have been a new year fire tragedy was averted by traders, using fire extinguishers of various sizes provided by governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to the market.
Ohaa said “That training we gave the traders paid off when the traders and security men led by one Fela, used the knowledge gained from the fire training program to put out the inferno and stop it from escalating.
“The fire started at a foam ( mattress) shop rampaging to adjoining shops was immediately arrested by traders making good use of the fire extinguishers installed in all corners of the market to combat the fire before prompt arrival of the state fire service.”
He expressed happiness that the traders lived up to expectation by putting their fire training knowledge by the State Fire service to work before his men could arrive the scene.
Ohaa appealed to traders to be careful and always be on the lookout especially this harmattan period to avoid fire desaster in the market, emphasising that the market authority should make the roads leading to and around the market accessible to fire trucks in case of any eventuality.
The Fire boss regretted that his men fought so hard for about half an hour to gain access into the market because blockage of access roads by illegal shops in the market.
Ohaa appreciated Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the provision of fire extinguishers in the market and for his support to the State Fire Service, pointing out that the governor’s proactive measures had saved the situation.