A midnight fire on Saturday razed Timber market at Wetheral Road in Owerri, Imo State.
Our correspondent who visited the scene saw helpless residents and victims running helter skelter and counting their losses.
Several victims told our correspondent that the incident started around 1:00am but before they could rush to the market, everything was lost in the fire.
They flayed fire fighters in the state for their inability to savage the situation.
One of them said, “We called fire fighters. They came with just a tank of water. The fire was too much and they couldn’t quench it. They left and told us that their water had finished.
“Several hours later, they have not come back. As you can see the fire is still on causing further damages.”
Another victim told our correspondent that he lost his two machines and other assets.
He said, “I lost my two machines and other things. We didn’t take out a single pin from the shops. Everything lost. The loss is unbearable.
“It is a black Christmas for us. We don’t know where to go from here. Nobody knows the cause of the outbreak. We lost over a billion here.”
Another victim said, “the annoying thing is that people offloaded goods worth several millions last night and went home only to be called hours later that the market was on fire. This is unbearable. I suspect foul play. The government should probe this incident.
“A customer came here and bought woods worth N7.5 million. He said he was coming this morning to carry it. I don’t even know what he will do now. Will he seek for a refund? If he does that, where will the shop owner get it from?”
Our correspondent saw a car, machines, woods and other assets razed.
As of the time of filing this report, fire fighters had not returned as the inferno was still raging.