From Alfred Babs, Ilorin
An early morning fire yesterday gutted and destroyed about 23 shops and goods worth millions of Naira at Owode Market in Offa in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State.
The fire, according to the Kwara State Fire Service started around 1:00am and before the service was contacted, many shops had been engulfed in the inferno.
However, the Fire Service said that the arrival of its men eventually prevented the inferno from spreading to other shops and houses in the vicinity of the market.
It however said that the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained but suspected that it might be due to electricity surge in the area.
Head of Media and Publicity of the Kwara Fire Service, Hassan Adekunle, said that though the intelligence unit of the Fire Brigade was working to know the immediate and remote causes of the fire outbreak, he suspected that electric spark might be the cause.
He said, “Today inferno was at Owode Market, Offa, Kwara State. It started around 1:00am and before they were able to reach fire Brigade many shops have really engulfed already. But immediately the State Fire Service arrived, the fire was initially prevented from further spreading to the other shops in that vicinities before it was later put under control.
“And if not because of the quick intervention of the fire Brigade, the disaster would have been a great one, though about 23 shops were affected due to the little delay in calling fire Bigade.
“The cause of the inferno was suspected to be an electric spark the cause of the” outbreak.
“The cause of the inferno was suspected to be an electric spark, even though the intelligent team of the State Fire Brigade is still working on that to unravel and ascertain the cause of the inferno,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kwara State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Hon Aisha Ahman-Pategi said that she sympathized with the victims of the inferno at the market.
In a statement signed by the press secretary to the ministry, Oba Azeez, the Commissioner expressed shock over the incident and commiserated with the Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi and the people who lost valuables to the fire, saying that she understood what this tragedy means to the victims, Offa LG and Kwara State at a time of economic recovery in Offa.
Ahman Pategi noted that Offa LGA is one of the industrial hubs of Kwara state and the importance of the market to the local community and the state cannot be overstated. She prayed that “Allah puts succour in the hearts of those who lost valuables.”