The main market in Otukpo town in Otukpo local government area of Benue State has been gutted by fire with over 120 shops burnt and items worth millions of naira destroyed.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that the inferno which started at about 8.30pm on Thursday lasted for several hours. The actual cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.
The men of the fire service were not on ground to put off the inferno because there is no service unit of the fire control agency in Otukpo town. All sections of the market including that of cosmetics and food items were razed.
The entire Otupko town was thrown into confusion as traders, costumers and commercial transporters scampered for safety. The fire became outrageous that shop owners were unable to evacuate their commodities.
However, the market master, Chief Obogo Alapa, told newsmen that the fire might have emanated from a coal pot which was found near a fuel jar in one of the shops where the smoke was first noticed and escalated to other shops.
Meanwhile, the caretaker chairman of Otukpo LGA, Innocent Onuh, described the incident as very unfortunate and appealed to the state government to station a fire service in the town to avert future fire disasters.