By Chimaobi Nwaiwu & Ike Uchechukwu
An 85-year-old woman was, yesterday, rescued from being consumed by a fire that razed a bungalow on 36 New Market Road, Onitsha, with goods worth over N7 million destroyed.
A resident disclosed that the fire was as a result of adulterated kerosene bought by one of the tenants in the building for her stove.
None of the residents of the building was able to rescue anything. But for the timely intervention of some youths, an 85 years old woman, a mother-in-law of one of the tenants, Mr. Onyekachi Okeke, would have burnt to ashes, as she was rescued by the youths who tried to put out the fire.
Two of the youths, who succeeded in preventing the fire from spreading to the main building and other building around, took a swipe at state fire service.
They alleged that they made calls to all the Fire Service Stations in the state but none responded.
One of them said: “We even went to Onitsha Main Market Fire Service and they told us they do not have fuel and water and we even noticed that their vehicles have flat tyres.”
One of the victims, Mr. Emmanuel Nwankwo, said he lost his six children graduate and undergraduates’ certificates, and goods and cash worth over N2 million.
Another victim, Onyekachi Okeke, said he lost an undisclosed amount of money his wife was supposed to give to traders she is doing business with, goods worth over N1.5 million; personal documents and his children’s school certificates.
According to Ekene, “I lost over N2 million naira worth of goods and property I wanted to park into a new house before the end of December.”
Two other victims Chibuike Onwumere and Chijioke Obasi, said they lost goods and property worth about N1.5 million and N285, 000 cash and goods and property worth N1 million, respectively.
The landlord of the building was not around for comment.
Also, yesterday, a building on 14b Atekong Street in Calabar Municipality Local Government Area was razed by fire attributed to high voltage.
An occupant and victim of the inferno, Mr. Ralf Chidozie, said his saving grace was that his own apartment was at the entrance of the compound, so he had the opportunity of removing his valuables.
His words: “Other tenants who had gone to work were not as lucky as I am. We have over 20 families living in this compound, either in self-contain or one room-apartments. Only a few persons including me could salvage a little of their valuables.”