Goods worth millions and at least fifteen shops were reportedly by inferno in Isuanuocha community, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra state.
The incident which started at about 12am on Wednesday took the intervention of neighbors to extinguish the fire after several unsuccessful phone calls put across to the State Fire Service.
Some of the victims appealed to Federal, State government as well as wealthy individuals to coming to their rescue as some of them might be forced to take their own lives over the shock.
Narrating his ordeal, Okafor Somadina said they were fast asleep when some of them were alerted by security guard on duty who noticed the fire from one of the shops.
“Immediately we were alerted, a few of us who had phone numbers of the state fire service started calling them, but, regrettably, they didn’t respond,” he said.
Another victims, Mrs. Florence Ekemezie, a restaurant owner, said she lost four deep freezers, five standing fans, two refrigerators, a generating set, cartons of drinks, coolers, plates, and other valuables in her four shops.
A tailor, Chukwuebuka Okeke, who said he had been in the business for over five years, also listed items he lost to the fire to include five industrial machines, seven tailoring machines and other sewing equipment worth millions of naira.
“I began fending for myself five years ago. I wonder what else I will do. If care is not taken, some of us may be forced to commit suicide because of inability to cope with the present economic hardship in the country,” he sobbed.
Another victim, who sells wholesale provisions, said he could not bring out any item from his shop, including cash of N400,000 he kept in the drawer.
Owner of the structure, Chief Cletus Okafor, a retiree, lamented that he depended on proceeds from the shop rents to feed his family.
He however expressed appreciation to God that no life was lost in the incident, appealing to government and spirited individuals for assistance.
Reacting, Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Chief Paul Odenigbo, sympathized with the victims, urged them not to lose hope.
He promised that a team would be sent to take inventory and assessment of the level of damagenwith a view to making case for them.