An early morning fire on Friday destroyed five shops and goods worth millions of naira in Umuahia, the NAN reports.
A correspondent of NAN in the Abia State capital, learnt that the fire started at about 2:00 a.m. at a popular pepper soup and beer joint, situated a few metres away from the Isi Court Police Post, on the outskirts of the city.
Master Hilary Samuel, whose mother’s shop was affected, said that they received the information about the fire incident when they came back from a night vigil in church.
“We went for a night vigil in the church and when we returned this morning, we received a call that our shop has been burnt by fire,” Samuel said.
He explained that they lost everything that they had in the shop, including clothing materials and cash worth more than N100,000.
Another victim, who identified himself simply as Mr Egwuonu, said that he received a call early this morning that his shop was on fire.
Egwuonu, who has two shops at the place, thanked God that his second shop was not affected due to the intervention of Good Samaritans and the fire service, which helped to put out the fire.
“When I rushed down to this place, I saw neighbours and military men on patrol, struggling to put out the fire,” he said.
He, however, expressed regret that he lost several thousands of naira in the inferno.
NAN correspondent, who visited the scene, reports that the pepper soup joint was completely razed down, while charred remains of two big deep freezers, a gas cylinder, a standing fan and crates of assorted drinks and bottles were found littered in the shop.
The owner of the joint, identified as ‘Lady B’, was not available for comments but it was suspected that the fire was caused by a gas explosion in the kitchen.