by crossriverwatch admin
An early morning fire outbreak, Sunday, burnt down eight shops and six residential buildings including a law chamber at Nelson Mandela and Targets roads, in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, while a member of National Youth Service Corps, Ifeanyi Uche escaped electrocution while trying to assist in putting the fire off.
An eye witnesses told crossriverwatch that the fire started from a Hair Dressing Salon about 4:30 am as a result of power upsurge and attempt by the people around to forcefully open the shop to stop the fire spreading to nearby shops and offices proved abortive as a result of the big iron used at the door of the shop.
After about two hours the fire had lasted, men of the fire service came but could not salvage anything as the water they came with was too small to stop the raging fire.
The owners of the shops made spirited efforts to stop the fire and on the process, the NYSC member who was moved by the level of destruction tried to help remove items in the shops that their owners were around but was shocked by one of the iron on the door as the NEPA light was still on.
According to one of the eye witnesses, “Fire started from the salon shop and entered the electrical shops. We tried to call fire service no response even one driver who saw what was happening abandoned the passengers and went to fire service. When they came here, they cannot even stop the fire they said that there water finished.”
One of the victims, Chief Onyekachi Agu whose shop was burnt down including the cash inside said, “I am not comfortable to speak now, I don’t know how to start it. I have over four million naira worth of goods in the shop and a cash of one hundred and ten thousand naira.
“I just came back from market on Friday. I plead with government if they have a way to assist me financial, they should assist me. I’m short of words, I don’t know how to talk about it, I don’t know where to start honestly speaking. Nothing was recued here. The whole grinding and petrol engines and generators are burnt.”
Another victim, Barrister Remi Agwuzie whose Law Chamber and the wife’s shop were affected said that he heard a distress call early morning that his office and the wife shop were burning and he had to rush down, adding that before he got to the place, the men of fire service had arrived but could not do much as the pressure from the host they came with was not enough put off the fire.
He also said that it was the neighbor that assisted to put off the fire but before then the damages had been done and that he was able to retrieve few files of his clients and few goods from the wife’s shop, stressing that many tenants were affected , while goods that worth millions destroyed.
“Some of us could not remove a pin, I was only lucky that I removed some of the vital documents. My happiness is that I was able to remove my school certificates that were the paramount thing,” he stated.
But another tenant, Joe Ezike like Chief Agu was not lucky as all the vital documents in his electrical shop and the goods got burnt.
When contacted, the State Director of fire service Mr. Sylvester Duke said that his office was informed of the incident late and he went to the scene himself unfortunately the Fire station at Mary Slessor did not have fire engine as they depended on the Quick Intervention Squad but worse still the vehicle the QIS came with developed problem.
Duke said that he had to rush to the Nigerian Ports Authority who came to their rescue.
Also commenting on the fire outbreak, the Director General, State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mr. Vincent Aqua described the level of destruction as monumental as goods worth several millions of naira were destroyed.
Agua represented by the Assistant Director David Akate said twelve persons were displaced, six residential buildings and eight shops some containing sophisticated equipment including generator sets destroyed.
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