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Fire guts Onitsha polythene market, destroys N1b goods


Onitsha fire

Barely one year after suffering monumental losses from a fire outbreak, traders and industrialists at the Polythene Products Market site, Ekenedili Chukwu Workshop Complex, Ilodibe Avenue, Awada, in Onitsha, Anambra State, are again counting their losses after another midnight inferno gutted shops, machines and raw materials in the market yesterday.

Though some portion of the market was still burning as at Thursday afternoon when The Guardian visited the place, chairman of the market, Elder Anthony Ubakasi, said it was efforts of the Ogidi Fire Service that prevented the fire from consuming the entire market.

He attributed the fire to epileptic power supply by Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) and lack of space for them to operate in separate warehouses/factories.

He said the fire started at about 11:00p.m. on Wednesday night, following an electric spark when power supply was restored in the area but the fear of electrocution from a live cable at the frontage of the market made it impossible for them to enter the site and see whether they could salvage any goods or machinery.

Ubakasi noted that the Okpoko Fire Service Station was upon called for rescue operation but, alleged that they came with an empty water tank. He added that they later called the Ogidi section, which responded and tried to put off the fire after a large chunk of the market had been burnt.

Goods and equipment valued at more than N1 billion were gutted by fire in the Onitsha polythene industry.

Estimating the extent of damage already incurred from the incident, he noted that raw materials and several industrial machines damaged in the inferno cost about N1 billion even as he lamented that the victims of the February 26 , 2017 fire incident in the area were yet to recover fully from their losses.

One of the victims, Christian Chuks Uzoh, called on Governor Willie Obiano to come to the aid of the victims, noting that most of the equipment in the market, which were purchased with bank loans, had been destroyed completely in the fire.

He also appealed to the state government to give them a permanent site that would reduce their clusters in their present location, which makes them prone to suffering collective losses whenever there is any disaster.
The traders also blamed the power distribution company for the erratic power supply in the area which they said had exposed them to intermittent electric surge and sparks which had been causing fire outbreaks in the area while they deal on highly inflammable products. 

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Fire OutbreakOnitsha
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