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Lamentation as fire guts Delta market

No fewer than 300 shops adjacent Ogbeogonogo market in Asaba metropolis were gutted by an early morning fire on Tuesday.

The incident left many traders in tears and goods worth millions burnt.

Although the fire was brought under control four hours later, many shops had been gutted.

The cause of the fire, which gutted Echolac Line-a row of ramshackle shops housing provision shops, tailoring shop, livestock market, haberdashery, and foodstuff, remains unknown.

Traders raced to the market to salvage their wares as early as 6.30 am when they got news of the inferno.

Some shop owners were inconsolable, claiming to have lost goods worth millions to the inferno.

Others wept profusely after their shops were looted by unknown persons in a bid to salvage merchandise from the fire.

The Nation gathered that the latest fire incident was the fifth in ten years.

The Delta Fire service had a hectic time curtailing the fire and was hampered by poor ineffective equipment and lack of access road into the market.

Many angry traders, who lost wares vented their anger on some policemen, pelting them with sachets of pure water for attacking them with sticks and canes.

The two fire trucks owned by the State Fire Service lost valuable time as they raced back and forth to get water.

A source, who spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity, said the water hydrant located within Ogbeogonogo market was removed and rows of shop built in its place.

He blamed the Oshimili South Council boss Mr. Uche Osadebe for ordering the removal of the water hydrant and building shops in its stead without making adequate requirements for a water source.

He accused the local council boss of jeopardizing the lives and property of shop owners by not providing alternative sources of water in the market.

But local council boss, Mr. Uche Osadebe, said he was not aware the water hydrant had been removed to make way for shops.

His words:” I am just hearing this allegation.If there was anything of such they would have let me know. It is not here in the midst of efforts to salvage wares they will start making such baseless accusations. They would have come to my office in Oshimili South Council and reported. I cannot ascertain this allegation.”

Delta Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Mofe Pirah said the State government was doing its best, adding back-up trucks from Ogwashi-Uku and Agbor were being mobilized to the scene.

Credit: SundiataPost

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