Goods said to be worth millions of naira were destroyed in a fire incident that occurred at a popular commercial centre at the post office area of Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Thursday.
The fire also gutted an office of the Akure South Local Government Area inside the centre.
The market shared boundary with the palace of the Deji of Akure.
Although no life was lost in the incident, it was gathered that many of the traders collapsed when they saw the damage caused by the fire.
An eyewitness, who declined identification, said the fire gutted no fewer than 100 lock-up shops which were filled with stationery, photocopy machines and computer accessories, among others.
Another eyewitness said the fire started about 1am, adding that its cause had yet to be known.
He said, “When the fire started in the middle of the night, we put a distress call to the men of the Ondo State Fire Service, but they said there was no vehicle. However, the men of the fire service unit at the Nigerian Airport, Akure, were called upon. Before they got to the scene, the damage had been done.”
The President, Association of Office Documents and Computers, Akure chapter, Mrs Elizabeth Orogun, described the incident as unfortunate.
Orogun, who said the loss would be too much for the traders to bear alone, appealed to the state government, the National Emergency Management Agency and other stakeholders to come to the aid of the victims.
She said, “What I heard was that electricity was restored in the area around 12.30am; maybe the power current was too high and something sparked, which led to the fire.
“About 100 shops were destroyed in the fire incident. So, we call on the government to please come to our aid because we have no other means of livelihood other than the goods that were destroyed by the fire.”
The Youth Leader of Akure community, Tuyi Adekambi, said the fire was caused by power surge.
He said, “If we have a functioning fire service in the state, the fire would not have caused this much damage. It was the Airport Authority Fire Service that came to put out the fire. Otherwise, the fire would have burnt the Deji’s palace.
“Many traders have been hospitalised as they collapsed when they saw the damage caused by the fire.”
The Police Public Relations Officer of the state police command, Femi Joseph, confirmed the incident, adding that investigation had commenced into the matter.