By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Victims of Tuesday fire incident that gutted Itam Main Market in Uyo metropolis are counting their losses, saying that they have been brought down economically.
One of them, Mr. Nwabueze John who deals on stationery materials and books, said he has lost everything to the fire and does not know what next to do to survive with his family.
His words, “I left the market around 7pm and by some minutes past nine, one of the security men called me that my shop has been burnt down. I rushed down to the place immediately, I was devastated when I saw everything in my shop gone down.
“Fire service people were here when I came but I couldn’t remove even a pin from the shop. Honestly I don’t know where to start from.”
Another victim, Aniekpeno Akra told our Correspondent that he got a similar call from people but on arrival he discovered that the havoc has already been done.
The fire incident, which is still rumoured as mysterious, occurred on Tuesday evening claiming about eight shops in the market with goods estimated at millions of naira destroyed.
Two out of the number were razed down completely before the intervention of the operatives of the Fire service, our Correspondent learnt.
When our correspondent visited the market, heaps of burnt grains, tins of tomatoes, heaps of books and other metals were seen at the scene of the incident.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, Traders Forum Association, Elder Godwin Ebong in an interview, expressed dismay over the incident adding that the union has commenced investigation into the matter.
He said preliminary investigations have not revealed the cause of the inferno as no electrical wiring is connected in the shops.
According to him, “till now, we cannot ascertain the cause of the fire outbreak, we have conducted our internal investigation and have not discovered the source, we are still hoping that few days from now, we will find out what happened.
“About eight shops were affected but two were critically affected. If you see shops there is no electrical connection to say may be wire has touched or sparked and caused the fire outbreak. Occupants of some of the shops sell grains, like rice beans, the other one sells stationery. Personally and collectively we don’t know the cause of the fire outbreak and some so many goods have been destroyed.”
Ebong noted that as soon they got wind of the inferno, the union contacted men of fire service who came within 45 minutes to put out the fire from causing further damage.
Ebong who pleaded support for the affected members said the union has reached out to both the local and state governments even as he thanked God that no life was lost.
Also, the Special Assistant to Governor Emmanuel on Trade and Investment, Mr Idorenyin Raphael when contacted confirmed the incident saying that he immediately called the commissioner for works and fire service who in turn ordered his men to the scene.
“Yes it’s true, the incident happened yesterday and I called the fire service personnel, within 20minutes they were on ground to rescue the situation.”