June 8, 2009

Fire razes buidings in Yenagoa

Yenagoa—Residents of Ekeki in the Yenagoa suburb in the early hours of yesterday watched in horror as a raging inferno razed down properties worth millions of naira.

Worst affected was the home of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) public enlightenment officer, Mr. Monday Okoro, who could only salvaged his uniform, a towel and the boxer on him.

The immediate cause of the fire could not be ascertained but eyewitnesses said it started from a nearby makeshift plank house before it spread rapidly to other buildings.

A section of the Mbiama-Yenagoa road was condoned off by men of the state fire service who battled to bring the inferno under control.

This reporter, who visited the scene of the incident, gathered that the inferno which was noticed at about 6.50am could have consumed the entire stretch of stores opposite the Ekeki Motor Park, but for the quick intervention of the men of the state fire service and sympathetic neighbours.

Though the fire fighters succeeded in preventing the raging inferno from spreading further, but properties worth millions of naira were completely destroyed.

An FRSC official who lost virtually all he had laboured for, including some of his certificates, was sighted gazing through the charred remain of what once used to be his modest two bedroom self- contain apartment.

The embattled officer, who last week was decorated with his new rank, was a shadow of himself when Vanguard encountered him.

Fondly called K.O by his peers, the embattled safety officer was bare-footed and only wore a boxer with a towel around his neck when this reporter ran into him where he stood helpless with his uniform, some journals in his hands and the few belongings he could retrieve from the razed apartment.

Narrating his ordeal, he said, “I was taking a cup of tea with a view to preparing for work when I noticed unusual heat in my sitting home. As I stepped out of my sitting room into the corridor, I saw that the building nearby (a wooden structure) was on fire and I heard the cry of a child.

“As I was about going to rescue the child, I discovered that the inferno had already engulfed my apartment.”

He added that in his state of confusion, he shouted for help and raced back into his apartment and made for his uniform which turned out to be the only item he could salvage from the raging inferno.

“I watched helpless as all I have laboured for went up in flame,” he lamented, holding his uniform and pleaded with the relevant authorities to come to their aid.

At press time, residents, especially shop owners in the area, were still transferring their wares from their burnt shops to unknown destinations.