AN early morning fire on Sunday razed a popular shopping mall, Phill-Hallmark Supermarket, in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, destroying goods worth billions of naira.
It was gathered that the fire started at about 2am when only a few of the employees were present.
It was learnt that the inferno destroyed the four floors of the main building while an extension of the mall was partly burnt.
Goods worth billions of naira were said to have been affected by the fire.
The supermarket houses several sections, including a boutique, bakery, food and beverages as well as home appliances.
It was also said to have over 50 employees and was recently renovated.
When Southern City News got to the scene of the incident at about 9am, officials of the state fire service were seen battling to put out the fire.
Although it was learnt that firemen from the Nigerian Airforce and the University of Benin rushed to the scene, the inferno was not put out until about 11:30am.
Efforts made to speak with the management of the mall were not successful as the manager declined any comment, even as sympathisers thronged the premises of the mall.
Governor Godwin Obaseki, who was at the scene to inspect the level of damage, has ordered investigation into the cause of the fire outbreak and the state fire service’s level of response.
Obaseki said, “This incident happening at this time of the year is a catastrophe. I have asked for a written report and investigation into the cause of the fire.
“We will also investigate the claim by an official of the state fire service on the allegation of lack of equipment because I understand that trucks were distributed by the NDDC and the state government during the last administration.”