Goods worth millions of naira have been destroyed as a fire razed parts of the popular Swali Market in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital in the late Friday.
Some traders in the affected shops, whose goods were destroyed, said if not for the prompt intervention of the state fire service, the whole market would have been razed down.
The fire, which lasted for about an hour, burnt bags of rice, salt, drums of alcoholic beverages, cartons of disposable plates, mattresses, crates of soft drinks, amongst other goods in the market.
No life was lost but some traders sustained degrees of injuries in the course of putting out the fire and evacuating their goods to safety.
A restaurant owner in the affected shops, Donatus Nwufo, said the fire started from behind a fence where hoodlums smoked Indian hemp and later spread to shops containing cartons of disposable plates.
He said: “We suddenly realised there was fire without any sign. We were able to put it out by the swift response of Bayelsa State Fire Service.
“Though we have lost several goods running to millions, but we thank God that there was no lost of life, when there is life, there is hope.”
The Chairman of Swali Ultra Modern Market, Jackson Bobra, said he suspected that the fire could have resulted from a refuse dump site close to the market fence where hoodlums hide to smoke.
He said: “Hoodlums always hide and smoke hard drugs around that fence, and that is where the fire started from, they are the cause of the fire.
“The fence is low, we have concluded plans with the state government to raise the fence.
“The fire came from the bush near the fence and climbed into the market.
“We were using water from burrow pit to put out the fire but to no avail, before the Bayelsa state fire service came to our rescue.
“This market is owned by the state government, we have been complaining to them to heighten the fence over the years but no response. The state government is bent on collecting only revenue without addressing our plight.”
Head of operations in the state fire service, Simon Ayakpo, said investigation into the cause of the fire was on.