Uyo – The Akwa Ibom Fire Service Department said on Sunday that it lost property worth N897.13 million to fire in the state in 2015.
The Director of Fire Services in the state, Mr Ndareke Ukpe, said in Uyo that some of the incidents occurred in 71 residential buildings.
Ukpe said that others occurred in 59 market stores and 42 government buildings.
He, however, said that the department was able to save property worth N94.06 billion during the period.
He attributed the fires to carelessness by the residents and the use of fake or substandard electrical materials by builders.
The director advised the residents to adhere to safety standards and switch off their electrical appliances when leaving their homes.
Ukpe also advised landlords in the state to use genuine electrical wires and other materials in constructing their buildings.
He urged the people to promptly report outbreaks in their premises to the fire service department for immediate action.
He advised the public not store petroleum products in their residential houses to avoid fires.
He warned smokers not to throw away their cigarette butts indiscriminately to avoid fire, especially during the dry season.
“We attended to 191fire calls from private individuals and government establishments in the state last year.
“During the period, we were able to save property worth N94 billion that would have been lost.
“Fire does not just happen; it is caused by carelessness and installation of fake electrical materials in our buildings,” he said.
Ukpe assured that the department would recruit about 400 personnel this year to enable it to cope with its challenges.