Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Goods worth more than N2.5 billion as well as shops and other valuables were destroyed as late night fire gutted a section of Timber market, Kenyatta Enugu state.
Eyewitness account had it that the fire had started after the close of work on Friday night and raged into the midnight. The intervention of the men of the State Fire Service could not yield results as the fire continued unabated.
By the time the fire eventually settled, no fewer than 350 shops and 155 machines of different sizes were completely destroyed.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the State Emergency Management Agency visited the market late Friday night to coordinate activities of the fire-fighters.
As at the time of filing this report Saturday, men of the state fire service were still seen fighting frantically to quench the fire to avoid it being rekindled by the wind.
Shop owners and sympathisers were seen in clusters discussing the tragic development while the younger ones among them were sifting through the debris to salvage any item of value and others assisting the fire fighters.
One of the fire fighters, Mr. Onugwu Nathaniel, said the cause of the fire cannot be immediately ascertained, but said it have been electrical spark or cigarette butt.
He said arson was unlikely given that the timber traders had a good network of internal security within the market.
The fireman said the State Fire Service was already on ground when the fire started as they have a unit within the market.
“We were already on ground, we have a post here. When the fire started and we saw the magnitude we alerted the state headquarters, the government house and other units. Enugu Fire Service has enough fire fighting trucks, what we require is more personnel, we don’t have enough man power like drivers etc,” he said.
A trader at the timber shed who gave his name as Mr. Amaechi estimated the damage to be in the region of N2 billion.