An early morning inferno on Sunday razed no fewer than seven shops in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara.
An eyewitness told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that the fire started from one of the shops on the Aperan Way.
Some of the affected goods included hair dressing equipment, computers, photocopiers, cooking utensils, text books, household plastics and other valuables.
The affected shop owners were seen with sympathisers making frantic efforts to salvage some goods at the scene of the incident.
Most of the victims were said to have recently stocked their shops with goods in readiness for Christmas and New Year sales.
The fire outbreak, however, became the first major test for officers of the newly established fire service station in Omu-Aran, as they put off the fire with the help of some residents.
The officer in-charge of the station, Mr Olaniyan Michael, told NAN that the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.
Michael said that the incident was reported very late, after the fire had raged on for over an hour.
“We received the distress call very late into the fire outbreak, but nonetheless we did our best to salvage the situation,” he said.
Alhaji Kazeem Adekanye, the council’s Transition Implementation Committee Chairman, while assessing the extent of damages, described the incident as “very unfortunate”.
Adekanye used the opportunity to advise shop owners to take precautionary measures in order to avert fire incidents .
“You need to be extra-careful and vigilant, especially when you are closing at night, by putting off all electrical appliances.
“You should also adhere to all precautionary measures and regulations to be on a safer side,” Adekanye said.
A community leader, Chief Jimoh Adesiyan, whose shop was also razed, urged both the local and state governments to assist in alleviating the effect of the fire on them. (NAN)