Nonsochukwu Uwa, Owerri
Vehicles, shops and equipment worth millions of naira have been burnt to ashes in the Old timber market along Wethderal Road Owerri, Imo State.
An eyewitness said the fire outbreak started around 2:99 am on Saturday.
Some persons who spoke with Ikengaonline blamed the fire incident on electrical fault.
Others said it was caused by the burning of waste bins around the area.
When Ikengaonline visited the scene of the incident, sympathisers were seen helping to extinguish the fire while some were seen evacuating the debris.
Scavengers were on hand to buy the damaged roofs, irons, and other items for their businesses.
An eyewitness said some of the shop owners had travelled for Christmas and their apprentices were the ones around to see if anything could be rescued.
One of the eyewitnesses who introduced himself as Mr Ike said: “The fire started burning around 2 am on Saturday.
“At first, we saw small flame of fire and we thought it was somebody burning a refuse dump. After about 30 minutes we started hearing explosions from different areas inside the market.
“And it became a large fire. It burnt the transformer. It burnt the vehicles. The fire burnt the furniture, the shops were completely razed down.
“Many properties were destroyed. We lost fortunes. I work around the market and make some money from assisting in doing one or two jobs.”
Other sympathisers said: “The incident happened when people were preparing for the Christmas season and it will put hardship on the victims and make them suffer more.”