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4 Persons Feared Dead, 12 Injured After Explosion Rocks Chemical Market In Onitsha,

Four persons are feared to have died, while 12 others sustained varying degrees of injuries, following an explosion at the Onitsha Chemical Market on Tuesday.  multiple establishments and about N850 million worth of property were damaged.

According to reports, the incident, which happened at 12:45 pm, caused a panic as dealers fled for safety.

One of the traders, Nweke Uchenna, said: “We were at our shops as usual when we heard a loud noise like a bomb blast and we saw thick smoke from some shops upstairs and everyone started running for safety.

“As some others shouted for help, we saw people carrying bodies from those shops on fire and some were badly burnt while some seem to have suffocated from the smoke and the stampede. “We don’t know how much has been lost to the fire but it can be estimated around N850 million to about N1billion because the goods are strong chemical products that are highly inflammable.”

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Mr Emeka Orji, contacted state Fire Service Chief, Martin Agbili who deployed his men that battled the fire in collaboration with their counterparts from Asaba, Delta State.

Orji also contacted Divisional Police Officer, Fegge, Rabiu Garuba who deployed officers and men to guarantee the security of goods belonging to the traders.

Describing the incident as unfortunate, Orji regretted that the decongested market almost made it difficult for fire fighters to put out the fire. “We are happy that the Anambra state Fire Service came on time to prevent the inferno from spreading.

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“Our proactive measures about fire outbreak also paid off because we had put in place fire fighting gadgets in some lines and that was what the traders and market task force team were using to fight the fire before the arrival of the state Fire Service,” he said. Orji, who noted that the number of casualties could not be ascertained, however expressed joy that the injured who were rushed to nearby medical facilities were responding to treatment.

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Director, Fire Service in the State, Engr. Martin Agbili who confirmed the fire incident, said the fire affected a section of the market.

“The cause of the fire and extent of damages are yet to be ascertained, but my men are currently at the scene battling the fire,” he added.

Police spokesperson, Tochukwu Ikenga who also confirmed the incident, said the situation is under control.

“The deputy commissioner in charge of operation is currently there and the fire service operatives are also on ground. Further details shall be communicated please,” he said.

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