By Chimaobi Nwaiwu- Nnewi
It was wailing, sobbing and gnashing of teeth by victims and sympathizers at Mbanugo Street Onitsha, as goods, house hold properties and documents worth over N40 million naira were destroyed by fire at No. 18/27 Mbanugo Street, near The Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Onitsha, Anambra state.
According to an eye-witness, the fire incident was said to have started at about 10am from the back flat of the second floor of two storey building, and spread to the front flat of the same second floor of the building destroying all the goods, property and documents in those flats, before sympathizers and men of the Okpoko Fire Service Station Ogbaru Local government area and Building Material Fire Service Ogidi , Idemili North came to put it off.
One of the flats is said to be occupied by Sir Achike Chukwurah and his wife, politician and Education Secretary of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Dr Mrs. Anayo Chukwurah, and the other occupied by a business man, simply identified as Galaxy, who also runs a restaurants opposite the burnt building.
Speaking with Vanguard at the scene of the incident, son of Sir and Dr Mrs. Chukwurah, Mr. Chike Chukwurah, said “I was in my house because I do not live here before I got a distress call from my friend and landlord of the building, that my parents flat was on fire and I quickly rushed to the scene of the incident to see what I can do.”
“I got here and we tried as much as possible to quench the fire, but it was difficult, I called one of my friends a member of Red Cross society to call the Onitsha Main Market Fire Service Station, he did, but unfortunately I was told by him that they said they do not have battery in their vehicle.
“However, help came from Hon. Eddy Ibuzo who is representing the Onitsha II State Constituency in the Anambra House of Assembly who called men of Okpoko Fire Service Station who came to help to quench the fire, but unfortunately before their arrival almost everything have been destroyed in the two flats, the fire has done a lot of damage, we struggled to bring my father out there, 75 years old man.
“We lost about 30 million worth of goods and property and documents, but we saved our father who is over 75 years, I don’t want to talk about what their neighbor in the other flat, Mr. Galaxy has lost, he is in great shock, that is why you cannot see him here now, I am sure he is somewhere trying to get himself back.
“I know what my parents have in that flat, I know what my siblings also have in that flat, everything has gone with the fire, all my parents documents were destroyed in that incident, my mother is also a politician, she has lost a lot of investments in this fire incident.
Howevewr, men of the Okpoko Fire Service led by the Watch Officer, Mr. Edward Okosieme, accompanied by Mr. Pascal Nwankwo and Mr, Ifeanyi Nwagbologu, said they would have arrived the scene of the incident on time but for traffic holdup from Okpoko to Upper Iweka and then Old market road, Onitsha through which they connected Mbanugo street, coupled with the fact that their vehicle was cutting Gas.
Mr. Okosieme however, said they succeeded in making sure that the fire did not engulf the first floor and down floor of the building.