Fire has razed a section of the Swali Market, a major market situated in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State.
Investigations revealed that the inferno, which broke out in the early hours of Friday completely burnt shops where gas cookers, cloths and other wares, were sold.
Traders and shop owners were reportedly in tears as they struggled to salvage some of their goods at the ill-fated shops.
The traders, who wept over the development, said they lost millions of naira to the fire.
One of the traders, Udubuochi Christine, hinted that the fire started from a nearby bush.
She said: “We suspect that the fire came from the back of the market, over the fence, through the bushy area, people go there to burn things, so it started from the burning bush.
“So we are advising them not to burn anything there again because this is Harmattan season everything is dry and can easily catch fire”.
She, however, said that officials of the state fire service were prevented from getting to the scene of the fire by traders, who accused them of late response.
“The people did not allow the fire service people to get to the scene because they came late and the traders said they were not to be trusted.
“The traders and other people gathered together and worked tirelessly to put out the fire. Many goods were burnt to ashes. And over 300 shops were destroyed. Most traders could not salvage anything”, she said.
She said the fire also destroyed physical cash with millions of naira and called on the government to come to the aide of the traders.
She said: “By the time we bring out the safe where we kept money, we discovered that the money had been burnt. Most traders keep money in their safes for quick and easy transactions.
“We want the government to maintain a fire service in the market. The So government should give us a standby fire service, so when the fire starts they will quench it instantly, not to call them on the phone”.
Another trader, Loveth Mark, lamented that the fire service personnel arrived the scene of the incident late.
READ ALSO: Two To Be Hang Over Robbery In Ekiti
“Before the fire service came, we had put out the fire. Most of the things were destroyed. We could not salvage anything reasonable”, she said.