By Chujs Eke
Early Tuesday morning inferno has ravaged a two storey building housing the Onitsha Main Market Police Division, Onitsha North Local Government market office in the market, warehouses, shops and wares estimated at several millions of naira.
The fire incident which started by 4 a.m., according to eyewitnesses, also gutted wares, furniture and other valuables inside the market.
It was gathered that the quantum of damages was so enormous as a result of delay by the fire service men to arrive on time to rescue the situation, despite the fact that the fire service men have their office also in the building and their truck in front of the building when the inferno started.
Contacted, the chairman of the market, Chief Innocent Ezeoha, confirmed that wares running into millions of naira were damaged, adding that if not for the intervention of fire servicemen from Awka, Asaba and good Samaritans, the fire would have escalated to the entire market.
“It was on a tip-off that I was told about the fire that started about 4.00am this morning and I have to rush. Damages have been done to the police block, Onitsha North Local Government market office, warehouses, shops, and even fire service office was touched by the time rescue teams came from the fire service Awka and Asaba, Delta State.
Contributing, his secretariy, comrade Barth I. Obiorah, lamented that as at the time of the inferno, fire truck was in front of the building but ineffective even as the fire service men have their office in the affected building.
“It took about two hours after the commencement of the inferno, for the fire service men from Awka, to arrive and that of Asaba came much late. The office of the fire service men, Onitsha North Local Government market office, Onitsha Main Market police block, shops and warehouses were touched.
“We lost a lot to the early morning fire, the entire wares and items turned to ashes in the building housing those offices. The Commissioner for Special Duties tried to assist in quenching the inferno.
“However, we thank God that it did not escalate because of efforts put in place by all and sundry. It is unfortunate that the fire service truck was in front of the building when the inferno started but was ineffective to function,” he lamented.