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TORIT - 2 Dec 2019

Fire guts Omoliha market in Torit town

A fire outbreak that occurred at Omoliha market in Torit town destroyed properties worth millions of South Sudanese Pounds (SSP).

The fire, which started at about 3:00 am on Friday, also injured 30-year-old woman who is now receiving treatment.

Several shop owners interviewed by Radio Tamazuj expressed frustration over the devastating impact of the fire.

Sunday Aliardo, a widow, said she lost all items in her shop.

“I was using this shop to feed my children. My husband died leaving 5 children with me.  Nobody helps me although we have relatives and it was my shop that helped me,” she said.

Aliardo is worried it may be an uphill task to start a new life.

The state Chamber of Commerce chairperson, Lilly Hidita Nartisio confirmed the destruction of goods worth millions.

“A lot of things which cannot be estimated were lost, it is not only one million [SSP], but more than that because there is a woman with goods worth 900,000 SSP. For the Somali shop owner, things worth one million [SSP] were burned,” Hidita said.

For his part, the state director for civil defense, Lt. Col. James Joseph confirmed the incident, saying ammunition found in one of the shops exploded during the firebreak, injuring a woman.

“Actually the burning that happened yesterday [Friday] was very bad. I was called on phone at around 4:33 am, I went there and I heard the sound of some bullets. I told citizens to get away and immediately the explosion occurred injuring a 30-year-old woman named Hellen from Otuho,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state police spokesman, Lt Col. Mathew Ochan Jacob said police authorities are investigating the cause of fire outbreak.

“Nobody knows whether it was a candle or another thing that caused the fire which spread in the shops. The fire spread very fast and it was difficult to control it,” Ochan said.

“The most dangerous thing is that about 8 shops were damaged totally, nobody rescued anything and so all properties were destroyed. Even the traders there were so confused, but we told them to register things that were destroyed,” he added.

In 2015, a fire outbreak believed to have been caused by a faulty generator gutted several shops in the market.