1 Of Fireman dies, 5 injured As Fire Razes Onitsha Market

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Innocent Mbonu has confirmed the death of one of its staff who died while attempting to put out the inferno that gutted the Ochanja Market in Onitsha area of the state.

The Acting Director of Anambra Fire Service, Mbonu, who confirmed the death on Monday, however, refused to make public the identity of the deceased.

According to the Acting Director, a storey building in the market collapsed on two of his staff who were trying to bring the inferno under control, adding that while one died on the spot, the other was receiving treatment at a hospital.

Mbonu said, “Five other persons sustained various degrees of injury while 15 shops, mostly shoes shops, were razed during the inferno.”

Reacting to the incident, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Ali Okechukwu, said that the cause of the fire outbreak was unknown.

“The governor was there. When government comes out with its report on the cause of the fire, we shall all know but the place is calm now,” Okechukwu said.

On the cause of the fire outbreak, a member of the market’s vigilance group, who pleaded not to be named said that the inferno started at about 3 a.m. from a shop.

The security guard further stated that efforts by the firemen and others to put out the fire were unsuccessful.

“The fireman met his untimely death when he climbed a storey building to spray water but unfortunately for him, the building collapsed and he was consumed by fire.

“Another official of the fire service broke his leg and was among the five that sustained various degrees of injury,” the security guard said.

It was learnt that in the cause of putting out the fire, a cash sum of N1.5m was recovered in one of the shops and has been handed over to the owner of the shop.

The State Governor, Willie Obiano, who visited the scene of the fire incident earlier in the day, promised to set up an investigative panel to unravel the remote causes of the fire outbreak.

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