Scores of traders, who specialise in buying and selling illegally-refined petroleum products, are currently licking their wounds after fire gutted a section of the Ogbe-Ijoh Iron Market in Warri, Delta State on Tuesday evening.
Although no life was reportedly lost to the inferno, the market, built of iron by the Chief James Ibori-led administration, which is yet to be inaugurated, has been a notorious haven for products from illegal refineries.
Tuesday’s incident, which occurred at about 5:30p.m, was allegedly ignited by one of the traders who was trying to test the product she had just bought.
Eye-witnesses, who spoke separately to Nigerian Tribune late Tuesday, said it all started when the lady, who was a kerosene seller, wanted to test the content of her consignment in order to convince her customer that the product was kerosene.
The trader, according to the eye-witness who declined being identified, poured a little quantity of the kerosene on the bare floor as they usually do when they want to sell, struck a match on it and then, a clangorous explosion ensued.
The explosion swiftly spread to adjourning shops where similar illegally-refined products are sold as well as shops harboring assorted dried fish.
An eye-witness, Miss Esther Godspower, who’s a student of the Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe-Oghara, who just returned from school to help her mum in her hair making business, said that the fire started at exactly 5:25p.m.