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Fire destroys timber, shops


The burnt shops

The burnt shops

MACHINES, tools and furniture estimated at over N50 million were burnt to ashes, following a night fire, which razed the timber and carpenters’ sheds otherwise known as Ukwu Ogbu carpenters shed, located at No. 9 Oraogbu Street, Umudioka, Awka Anambra State.

An eyewitness account said the fire was noticed around 9.00 p.m. on Tuesday night. The state Fire Service men later arrived but could not put off the blazing fire, due to water shortage.

“Therefore, the fire burnt down everything within the premises,” he said.

When The Guardian got to the scene of the fire incident around 9.00 a.m. yesterday , some of the shop owners looked in consternation and were visibly worried. It was gathered that the sheds were totally destroyed while charred building materials were all scattered within the vicinity.

One of the fire victims who spoke to The Guardian, Azubike Eze, lamented that their losses was colossal, running into several millions of naira.

Eze lamented: “How do you quantify the losses- several machines employed by carpenters, their working tools to execute their jobs, household furniture being contracts awarded to some of them, office furniture, chairs and tables?”

Eze said others included leather materials (MBF), school furniture, planks for doing different jobs, plywood among others were all burnt to dust, adding that their sheds were totally razed.

There were many versions as to the cause of the fire incident, but three major opinions pointed accusing fingers at a neighbour’s compound where some bonfire was aflame from around 6.00 p.m. before the fire incident.

A victim, who would not want his name mentioned, said one of them quickly rushed to the particular compound to complain, and they actually put out the fire, but he quickly added that unnoticed thongs of fire might have penetrated and spread to the sawdust and other wooden wastes nearby.

He said: “This then developed, spread unnoticed and burnt down our shed”, adding that he had incurred a huge debt.

However, another version linked the fire outbreak to an electrical fault or a working machine that was not switched off, which ignited due to power surge.

A third version suspected that it was fire spreading from a sawdust/burning spot in front of their shed that later burnt down the building.

As at the time of filing this report, some sympathizers and relatives of victims were seen gathered in groups discussing the fire incident, while many of those affected lamented their losses.

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