The chairman of the affected block in the industrial cluster, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu told Pageone on Sunday that more than 500 workers were working in the affected shops.
According to Nwanchukwu, the fire was put out after the Abia fire service arrived from Umuahia, the state capital, about an hour after the incident.
Cherechi Ndukwe, a victim, appealed for immediate help to the affected traders, noting that the incident has put their businesses, families, and employees in jeopardy.
“We made frantic but unsuccessful efforts to douse the inferno with buckets of water before the arrival of the men of Abia fire service from Umuahia,” NAN quoted Ndukwe as saying.
“It will be very difficult to survive without the support of Abia and the federal government,” he added.
Goodluck Mmeri, another victim, said the situation was made worse by miscreants who capitalised on the incident to loot some materials and machines.