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Many Trapped As Fire Gut Multi Billion Onitsha Drug Market

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From Mokwugwo Solomon, Awka

About 5 traders and artisans were feared dead as strange fire gut the popular Onitsha drug market, popularly known as Ogbogu International Market, Bridge Head, Onitsha.

The inferno, which started at about 12noon on Tuesday, November 8, destroyed goods and buildings worth over N10 billion; according to a trader in the market, Mr Amobi Okanume.

Okanume, who said that the cause of the fire was unknown, said it was the first time the market was suffering fire disaster.

According to him, the fire caused much damage before the arrival of fire fighters from Onitsha and the neighbouring Asaba in Delta State.

Another trader in the market simply known as Ozigi, claimed that the fire started when an explosion occured in one of the buildings at the Chemical Line of the Market.

He said, “I was in the market at about 11am, when an explosion occured, and every trader started running helter skelter, scampering for safety.

“The explosion sparked fire that affected over 70 shops, destroying goods worth several billions of naira. Apart from goods and property, about 5 persons – 4 men and a woman were trapped; and they are not yet rescued as we speak,” he narrated.

As at the time our reporter arrived at the scene of the incident, many traders were stranded, some wailing, some evacuating their goods in trucks and vehicles.

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