At least two persons have been reported dead and 700 make-shift shops at the popular Station Food Stuff Market in Kaduna, north-central Nigeria, have been burnt down in an early morning inferno.
The fire incident, which was attributed to a power surge, occurred at about 12 midnight when the traders had retired from the day’s business.
The market is known for selling cheap food items such as rice, Yams, beans, life birds, fruits among other consumables. It also inhabits cold room operators and artisans.
An eyewitness told Channels Television that two people, who were sleeping inside one of the shops, also lost their lives in the fire while goods worth millions of Naira were completely destroyed.
Efforts by the State Fire Service could not save the situation, as the fire razed all the shops and destroyed food items. Only zinc and iron protectors in some shops were the only things in sight at the market, as some owners of the shops gathered, with agony on their faces.
Heaps of burnt roofing sheets and other items made from steel that could not be totally consumed by the fire were the only things in sight
The make-shift shops were made with wood, roofing sheets and other materials that fire can easily burn.
One of the traders, whose shop was affected, told Channels Television’s correspondent that the fire incident could have been averted if the previous government had listened to their demand for permanent blocks of shops to be constructed in the market, instead of the make-shift shops.
“The make-shift shop can easily be gutted by fire,” he said.
A middle aged man, Sabo Isah, is presently out of job, having lost his work some years ago. His wife’s shop was among those burnt down.
He could not hold back his tears, as he narrated how the family had lost the only source of livelihood to the fire.
He appealed to the state government to come to their aid.
The incident is likely to affect food supply within the metropolis since over 95 per cent of goods in the market were affected.
The Station Market is popularly known as a place to buy cheap food items and fruits in Kaduna, the state capital.
Some of the shop owners at the scene were counting their losses when Channels Television visited the burnt market while security operatives have been deployed to the market to maintain law and other.