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Two siblings lose N60m as midnight fire razes Onitsha Head Bridge Market

BY SUNNY A. DAVID, AWKA

Following the midnight fire that gutted the Head Bridge Market, Onitsha, Anambra State scores of traders at A. T. D. line Building Materials, have been thrown into mourning, as their goods worth billions of naira destroyed.

The fire, according to eye witnesses, completely razed four shops and affected about eight others with goods running in millions lost to the inferno.

Narrating their ordeals, one of the victims, Chigozie Akabuogu an Iron and steel dealer, whose shop was affected, said many of them were still counting their losses after the ugly incident.

He said he lost over N35million worth of goods, while his sister who deals on accessories, Mrs. Onyinyechi Ezekwu lost goods worth over N25million to the inferno.

The visibly devastated trader lamented that the fire also burnt N1million cash he left in his shop.

“I got a call in the middle of the night from some friends that live close to the market that my shop with goods worth over N35million was on fire.

“They also told me that not only mine was affected but that of my sister who deals on accessories. Her goods that were destroyed were worth over N25million,” he said.

Another trader who deals on Royal Drail and Rolling Doors Dealer, Ikechukwu Benjamin expressed dismay over the incident that consumed his goods, calling on government to provide fire hydrants in the market.

Another victim, a saw dust dealer, Godwin Nsofor who attributed the fire outbreak to electrical fault, lamented that all the woods he sawed for his clients were lost to the inferno.

Reacting, Secretary Amalgamated Timber Dealers Association, Mr. Augustine Ezekwugo described the incident as unfortunate and unexpected, saying they had never experienced such incident in the market.

He regretted the great losses, assuring that proper investigation was ongoing to unravel the cause of the incident.

He called on traders to ensure they switched off all electrical appliances before leaving the market to avoid re-occurrence.

Some of the witnesses who assisted in putting out the fire, including Francis Uchechukwu and Valentine Chimobi said youths in the area and neighbours assisted in controlling the fire with water and detergent.

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