Fire guts Rivers apartment, displaces 20

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On Tuesday, a fire engulfed a set of apartments at No 9, Awkwuzu Street in the Diobu area of Mile one in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, destroying goods and property worth millions of naira.

Over 20 of the building’s occupants were displaced.

One of the displaced residents, Esther, said that the fire started on the roof of a woman who left her cooking gas on and went to the hospital.

While noting that the camp gas was faulty, she stated that the woman was unaware that she had not properly turned off the gas before leaving the house.

She regretted that none of the occupants was able to salvage any property from the building.

She said, “A woman unknowingly left her gas on. You know how these camp gases fumble when the regulators are bad.

“Probably she turned it off thinking it was off but I think she did not observe it well. She took it inside her apartment, locked the door and left for the clinic.

“Before people could realise, it got burnt and exploded. That was the cause of the fire. Nobody was able to pick anything out of the place. The place was completely razed down.”

Another resident said it was unfortunate that for nearly two hours that the fire was on, fire-fighters did not show up.

The Commander, Federal Fire Service in Rivers State, Abdul Alfa, said he was aware of the incident, but expressed regrets that his men were not able to get to the scene because their operational vehicles were under maintenance.

Alfa said, “It is not that we did not turn up. The problem is that our vehicles are off the road. They are under maintenance.

“But I tried to call the fire departments from some of the companies here in Port Harcourt to see how they can assist. If our vehicles are in order, what are waiting for? It is our job and we don’t waste time in responding to such distress calls because we know it is an emergency.”