By Chidi Nkwopara, Owerri
Properties running into billions of Naira have cumulatively been consumed by fire, following the reported inability of Imo State Fire Service to promptly deal with such emergencies. Only recently, all the occupants of a building along Royce Road, Owerri, lost their hard-earned properties, including certificates, historical artifacts, jewelries and other precious personal effects, to a raging fire.
Only last Tuesday, some inhabitants of Owerri watched with shock, as the Fire Service personnel battled a mysterious fire that engulfed the grassy sections of the premises, which is close to the Owerri Urban Police Division. Not long after this incident, another family at Okwu Ubomiri in Mbaitoli local council area of the state, was rendered homeless, following a fire incident that consumed their ancestral home.
A villager who claimed to have witnessed the inferno, confirmed that the fire which started at about 10am, razed the house and consumed personal effects conservatively put at over N25 million. “Although I cannot say with certainty what caused the fire, the villagers did everything within their power to check the fire, but it went beyond them. It was most disheartening to stand and watch helplessly as the entire building ad it’s content went with the raging flame”, the villager said.
Continuing, the man lamented that despite getting across to the State Fire Service personnel early enough, they could not make it to the scene because of lack of equipment. “Even the Fire Service personnel who were called several times to come to the rescue of the anguished family, cold not make it to the scene because they claimed that they did not have the necessary fire fighting equipment to combat the fire”, the villager recalled.
One of the community leaders, Chief Kenneth Okwudiri, expressed regret that the Fire Service personnel did not respond to the distress call. Vanguard gathered that although no life was lost during the fire incident, family of nine is now taking refuge in the homes of relations.