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5 traders slump as fire guts Nnewi timber market

5 traders slump as fire guts Nnewi timber market
Nnewi Timber Market, after it was gutted by fire in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State yesterday
Goods said to be worth billions of naira were yesterday gutted by a midnight fire in a part of the Nnewi Timber Market in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra state.
Five traders in the market who were victims of the inferno were said to have collapsed as a result of the shock, and were rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

Among others, 155 shops and 555 sawing and curving machines were destroyed.
Chief Chukwunonso Nnetu, Chairman of the Nnewi Timber Dealers Association, said most of the five traders were currently suffering from high blood pressure while many of the other traders had lost their means of survival unless government intervened.
He said he was alerted to the fire by a security guard in the market around midnight, adding that fire fighters in Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha fire service stations were immediately contacted to quench it.
Nnetu who revealed that the fire had reached an advanced stage before the arrival of the fire fighters, said 155 shops, 555 sawing and curving machines valued at N2 million each were identified to have been lost to the fire. He added that different categories and quantities of woods and planks were among items destroyed by the inferno.
“We don’t know the exact cause of the fire, but we lost well over N3 billion to it,” he said.
A victim of the fire incident, Mr Anthony Ezenwa, who disclosed that he had been in the market for more than 15 years, also said that he lost over N2 million worth of goods.
In a reaction, a fire fighter who pleaded anonymity, said they were not contacted early, adding that security guards and sympathizers had struggled to put out the fire and it degenerated into an inferno.
Also speaking, the Secretary to the market association, Mr Jude Ugwu, said the fire affected most processing machines, wondering how the traders would overcome the loss in this time of recession.
Ugwu, who said similar fire incident occurred in 2002, appealed to the state and federal governments to assist the traders recover from the loss.
In his reaction, a director in the state Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr Chukwudi Onyejekwe,  described the incident as painful and a bizarre situation considering the goods destroyed.
Confirming the incident, the state Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of Operations, Mr Johnson Kokuko said no life was lost. Kokumo said, “Immediately we got the information, we condoned off the area to ensure that hoodlums did not take advantage of the situation.”

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