Four people were reportedly feared dead on Tuesday while 12 others were said to be seriously injured following an explosion at the Chemical Market in Onitsha Head Bridge, Anambra State.
According to a witness, corpses of the victims were pulled out of the market, while injured persons were rescued.
Goods worth millions of naira were also destroyed by the fire and several shops were razed.
It was gathered that the fire started at about 12:10pm on Tuesday as the chemicals stored in the shops exploded sporadically.
The men of the Anambra and Delta states fire services are currently on the ground to put off the fire.
Spokesman for the Anambra State Police Command, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, said there was no casualty in the incident but an eyewitness account contradicted him.
According to the eyewitness, the Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Mr Emeka Orji, on getting wind of the incident rushed to the scene.
One of the traders, Mr Nweke Uchenna, told Daily Trust, “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. Then people started shouting for help and we saw people carrying bodies from those shops that were on fire. Some were alive but burnt badly; while some seem to have been suffocated by the smoke and the stampede.
“We don’t know how much that have been lost to the fire but it can be estimated at N850million to about N1billion because the goods are strong chemical products that are highly inflatable,” he said.
Credit: Daily Trust