Monday, August 2, 2021 10:58 pm
By Okafor Ofiebor /Port Harcourt
Goods worth millions of naira were lost to fire at the popular timber market in Mile 4 area of Rumueme, Obia-Akpor local government area in Rivers state on Monday.
The cause of the fire disaster was not immediately known. However, one of the shop owners at the timber market claimed that the fire started when an unnamed trader tried to put on a generator.
Some of the traders also claimed that the “fire started from the shop of a foam seller who called in a welder to weld his gate. According to them, spark of light from the welding machine ignited fire on highly inflammable substances like foam which later fueled the fire that burnt the shops all properties.
Regrettably, they lamented that while the inferno lasted for about three hours, all the distress calls on the firefighters of Rivers State Fire Service were not answered.
“We tried the best we can to put out the fire with buckets of water to no avail”.
Our Correspondent learnt that the Chairman of Obio-Akpor local government Council, the chairman of Obio-Akpor, George Ariolu, visited scene of incident and advised owners of shops and properties to be mindful of the way they handle inflammable substances.
He also enjoined them to always install firefighting equipment in shops and homes.
“Accidents don’t just occur. Accidents are man-made. And prevention is the key,”Ariolu said.
One of the victims whose shop was totally destroyed by the fire has described it as an avoidable hazard.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Upholstery Union at the market, Kalu Ukoha, has described the fire incident as unfortunate. He advised his members to insure their businesses while also calling for more education in firefighting to help curb the spread of fire.
Our correspondent reports that several fire disasters that had occurred in Port Harcourt this year and environs, but the State Fire Service has not responded to distress calls and successfully put out the fire in any of the incidents.