One person was killed on Tuesday as fire razed over 500 shops, destroying goods worth millions of naira at the popular Station Market in the Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
This is just as fire razed a female hostel at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi State, on Monday.
An eyewitness in the Kaduna incident said the fire started at about 2am, adding that the fire was still raging as of 12 noon.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna State Police Command, Abdullahi Zubairu, told our correspondent that the number of casualty or damage had yet to be ascertained.
Zubairu said, “The market has been shut and the police are on a search and rescue operation in the market.”
The cause of the fire was attributed to an electrical fault in the market.
The Vice Chairman of the market association, Mr. John Nwokoye, said he received a call around 2am that the market was in flames.
He said a trader died inside his shop during the inferno. He added that over 500 shops with goods worth over N200m were lost to the fire.
Nwokoye said, “I didn’t see any fire service. They said the firefighters complained of lack of water and went back. Goods worth about N200m were lost to the fire. The number of shops burnt were over 500. One person was killed because he was inside his shop when the fire started.”
Another victim, Hajiya Sherifat Abdulsalami, who sells foodstuffs in the market, told our correspondent that she just returned from the market on Sunday where she stocked her three shops with goods worth over N1.3m.
Abdulsalami called on the state government to come to the aid of the traders.
A widow, Mrs. Kemi Olatunde, who had three shops where she sold frozen chicken, fish, turkey and provisions, lamented that she lost everything to the inferno.
She said, “I lost two cold rooms, two deep freezers and other goods worth about N2m. I don’t know where to start again.”
A fish seller, Malam Abdullahi Rabba, said, “One of the guards told me that the fire started due to an electrical fault. Government should come to our assistance.”
The acting director of the Kaduna State Fire Service, Paul Aboi, said his men had difficulties in accessing the scene of the fire.
In the Bauchi fire, it was gathered that a section of one of the female hostels of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University was affected by the fire.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the fire, which started at about 9pm in room 18 of Bethel Hostel, lasted for over two hours before a combined team of firefighters put it out.
Although no life was lost and no student sustained any injury, it was learnt that the fire consumed the property of the over 90 students in the seven rooms.
The fire was said to have been caused by high voltage which resulted from the change of electricity from the school generator to the public electric supply.
Efforts to get the Public Relations Officer of the Institution, Alhaji Zailani Bappah, did not yield results as he did not pick calls put through to his mobile phone and had yet to reply to a text message sent to him.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Bauchi State Command, DSP Haruna Mohammed, said he was aware of the incident, but had sketchy details.