After a shut down of economic activities in Bamenda on Thursday November 15, the dawn of November 16 came with the tragic incidence of fire consuming 14 shops, some few meters from the food market.
According to eyewitness accounts, the fire broke out some minutes after 6am, while the shop owners were yet to get to their business places. Sympathizers were only able to rescue items from two of the fourteen stores that were consumed by the fire. This according to them was because the other shops had inner locks which could not easily be destroyed.
“We woke up this morning at about 6 and realized that smoke was coming out from those stores near the market. We tried calling the fire brigade, their lines were not going through. After we persisted we finally got to them and they said they were on their way coming. We tried breaking open some of the stores and as we were doing that we realized that some cables were touching which sparked and led to a wild fire” One of the onlookers explained.
At the scene of the fire incident, some onlookers had already begun saying that the shops had been set ablaze by someone. However some of the shop owners attested to the fact that they had been having electrical faults in the shop and could conclude that the fire was an electrical fault and not an act perpetrated by someone. “I cannot count the number of times I was electroshock by these cables” one of the victims lamented.
Although the exact amount of loss could not be gotten as at the time of the incident, one could tell from the types of items sold that the damage was enormous.
A shop owner dealing in the sale of baby products said her shop was worth more than 3 million while another lady said she had invested at least 8million in her shop which had been reduced to ashes by the fire.
Sympathizers blamed poor connections and warned that such connectionshort be properly handled to avoid future reoccurances.