EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: At least a million-dalasi worth of items got burnt when fire engulfed eleven stalls in the main Serrekunda Market on Tuesday morning.
Eyewitnesses believed the fire which emanated from the shop of one Almami, a dealer in general household utensils at around 1:00 am, was likely due to electric spark, but police have begun investigation in attempt to confirm the cause.
A shop owner right opposite the scene, Alpha Omar Bah, told Eyeafrica that the shouting began by midnight to the attention of crowds mainly of market vendors.
This compelled him to throw away the painting brushes he held while galvanizing the interior of his workshop ahead of a booming business late in the day, to help in putting out the flames.
“I saw people running and shouting that there is a fire outbreak here. That is the time I left my job, close my shop and rush to witness it. When I arrived, I knocked the doors in case if someone was inside but I found that there was one old man inside with his wife. That’s the time I asked him to open the door and when he did, I entered and told him things are not going well we either break in or remove everything out but he told me that the thieves are around and if we remove it, they might steal it,” he added.
He held the view that the fire service couldn’t make a timely arrival as their rescue team had only got to water the rubbles.
“I found the fire service at the back but they were not doing their job because we call the fire service to come long time ago but they refuse to come… We call them around 1:30 but they came at around 2am.”
As a result of the fire, Ebrima Bah a victim whose shop was turned down to ashes lose petty cash in addition to item valued at hundreds of thousand dalasi.
“Small amount of money got burnt but the items which are estimated to more than four hundred thousand got burn.”
Amadou Jallow, who also sell cooking pots, second hand clothes, and shoes said the items burnt in the fire worth eighty thousand dalasi.
Similarly, Jaye Ceesay said she lost all her belongings, a situation for which she called on the public for help.
While Jerray lamented on the loss of up to one hundred and seventy-five-thousand-dalasi worth of items, Sarjo Jallow, chainsaw owner claimed damage very close to that. “I lost hundred thousand because even the machine is costing around sixty thousand dalasi.”
It appears that the waves of fire incidents on very important institutions is in the rise. Two days ago, an oil manufacturing factory along the Banjul Highway was caught in flames, barely a month after the entire ministry of Fisheries metamorphosed to ashes thanks to uncontrollable flames.
Story written by Juldeh Njie