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Many injured, properties destroyed as fire guts Swali Market

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Some parts of the popular and biggest market in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Swali Market, was yesterday razed down by an early morning inferno that lasted over one hour.

The fire, which gutted several shops and goods worth millions of Naira, was said to have been started by a yet-to-be-identified Marijuana smoker, who carelessly left the butt of his smoke on refuse dumb.

The market is mostly populated by Ibo traders and is the biggest in the state. Though no lives were lost, several persons were said to have sustained various degrees of injuries, while attempting to salvage their goods.

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It was gathered that the fire started at a refuse dump site close to the market where Indian hemp smokers had turned to their den for illicit use and sale of hard drugs. A source said one of the smokers allegedly dropped the butt of his marijuana that was still burning and started the fire that slowly gained access to a shop where highly inflammable disposable plates were stored.

It took the intervention of the State Fire Service to bring the fire that lasted for about one hour under control, but not after it had consumed goods worth millions of Naira.

Speaking to newsmen, the Chairman General of the Swali Ultra Modern Market, Mr. Jackson Bobra, said smokers had set the market ablaze several times in the past in the same manner.

He further explained, “this afternoon some parts of the market got burnt. As we have gathered, the fire started from a refuse dump site across the fence of the market.

“The fire started slowly and because that part of the fence of the market is too low, the fire gained access into a shop where plastic disposable plates were stored. And from there, the fire razed about ten buildings to the ground and partially burning several others, leaving goods worth millions of Naira destroyed.

“If not for the quick intervention of the State Fire Service, more shops would have been burnt down. This is not the first time this is happening and we have reported the matter to the state government that collects revenue every day but they have refused to do anything about it.”

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