Generator explosion engulfs FCT market in flames

 

The fire incident in Karimo market in Abuja that destroyed good and many stalls started on Tuesday from an explosion from a generator, an eyewitness, Toluwani Ajayi, has said.

Toluwani, a resident of the market area and trader, claimed that goods worth millions of naira were destroyed.

Toluwani, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, spoke at the fire incident scene in Karimo, Abuja.

NAN reports that at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday, a large part of the market was razed by fire.

According to Ajayi, he and some traders noticed the fire after a generator fuel tank exploded and affected the shop of the generator owner.

“Initially, people still went about their normal businesses without knowing the fire would escalate to the point where people wouldn’t have been able to control the fire.

“That was when people started trying to rescue their goods,” he said.

He expressed concern about what he described as the attitude of those who were meant to help traders but took advantage of the situation and stole.

“It was so unfortunate to see people bugling, scavenging and stealing the goods of shops that were not gutted by fire.

“At night some hoodlums attacked us that they wanted to pack things from shops.

“Hoodlums acted like they were pleased with the situation and caused riot as fights were ongoing before the police came,” he said.

He acknowledged that men of the fire servicemen were on the ground but alleged that they came late.

“The coming of the fire servicemen had an impact because some goods were not totally burnt on their arrival, so they made it possible for people to safe some goods.

“We had to use sticks to break down shops that were burning so that the fire would not extend to the areas that were safe,” he said.

A cosmetics trader, Mr Onyekachi Orji, said that he lost goods worth millions of naira to the inferno.

“Somebody like me went to the market on Monday to buy more goods because the market days of this market is on Tuesdays and Fridays.

“Most of my colleagues too had gone to restock their shops in preparation for the market days.

“We tried to quench the fire but when we noticed we could not control it, we had to run for our dear lives,” he said.

Karimo Market Traders Association Chairman, Mr Makata Sylvanus, described the part of the market that was gutted by fire as the “heart” of the market.

Sylvanus whose provision store got burnt said that he lost a lot of goods and could not estimate the amount lost in terms of money.

He alleged that more than 300 shops were completely burnt down but fire service official said more than 100 shops were affected.

He pleaded with the federal government to rebuild the market to check fire outbreaks.

Mrs Tochi Chibuzor, a trader who claimed that her shop was looted by hoodlums, said that the fire didn’t burn her shop but her goods were stolen.

“I urge the government to come to our rescue because this is the second time this is happening and we borrowed money to start all over again,” she said.

Mr Bassey Enyieko, National Judicial Institute Divisional Fire Service Officer, said that men of the service turned out to the fire scene immediately after they were contacted.

“But the time of the call was what caused a delay of our arrival to the scene and by then a lot of havoc had been done at the fire scene.

“We received the call at 7:52 p.m. and we fought the fire until about 12 a.m.“We had challenges getting to the fire scene due to the tight nature of the market and road traffic.

“On getting to the scene the rate at which the fire had escalated was high.“At the site of the fire, we had to call other fire stations instantly to come to their aid because we knew we could not handle it alone,” he said.

He stated that there was no life lost but there were more than 100 shops involved and could not estimate the worth of goods lost to the inferno.

Enyieko called on the federal government to review the market structure and have a better plan for access roads.

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