• News - South East - Imo
  • Updated: December 26, 2022

Imo: Timber Traders Calculate Losses As Fire Ravages Market

The popular Timber market on Wethedral Road in Owerri, Imo state's capital, caught fire, causing major losses for Imo's timber traders on Monday.

Traders claimed that more than 200 stores and items worth more than N4 billion were destroyed by the blaze, which began at around 1.30 am on Saturday, December 24.

The fire was still burning in certain areas of the market at around 1 o'clock on Monday, according to a NAN correspondent who visited the market, despite efforts by Federal Fire Service personnel to put it out.

Rubbles resulting from the fire incident at the Timber market, along Wethedral road, Owerri, Imo

Although the exact cause of the conflagration has not yet been determined, one of the traders, Darlington Chinaza, the Chief Executive Officer of Bekee Global Furnitures, said that approximately 13 industrial machinery, each worth N6 million, were burned.

Chinemerem Ikerionwu, another dealer, requested that the appropriate authorities look into what caused the terrible situation.

“People offloaded goods worth several millions last night and went home only to be called hours later that the market was on fire.

"This is unbearable. The government should probe this incident.

“A customer came here and bought goods worth N7.5 million. He said he was coming this morning to carry them.

"I don’t even know what he will do now. Will he seek for a refund?

"If he does that, where will the shop owner get it from?”

Also, another trader who pleaded anonymity, said: “I lost my two industrial machines and other items. We didn’t take out a single pin from the shops. Everything is lost. This is unbearable.

“It is a black Christmas for us. We don’t know where to go from here. Nobody knows the cause of the outbreak. We lost over  N4 billion here,” he said.

Eyewitness Benjamin Onyewuchi claimed that the fire continued to rage despite many fire fighter attempts to put it out.

However, he urged Sen. Hope Uzodimma, the governor of the state, to assist the victims in any manner she could in order to lessen their hardship.

“This market provides employment for many youths and artisans as well as loaders and other casual workers. Today, they have all been rendered jobless.

“We call on government to provide soft loans or other interventions to ease the plight of these victims, some of whom obtained bank loans to buy goods for the season’s sales,” he said.

The Federal Fire Service's Zone "J" (Imo and Abia) Public Relations Officer, Mike Anowa, described the tragedy as tragic when reached for comment.

The true cause of the inferno and its losses, he claimed, had not yet been determined.

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Lawrence Agbo
Lawrence Agbo

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