By Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
Over 30 shanties which serve as rooms of residents of Okwelle(Soku) waterfront community in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital were gutted by fire on Wednesday morning.
Our correspondent who visited the area observed residents wading through the rubble searching to see if there are useful things that can be salvaged from ruins left by the inferno.
But not casualty has been reported from fire incident as at the time of writing this story.
An official of Port Harcourt Local Government Area, PHALGA, Security Service, Chukwuma Atamkpo, who spoke to our correspondent at the scene of the fire explained that the fire incident was caused by a female resident who forgot to put off her candle at night.
He said the fire started from the lady’s room and spread to other mostly wooden and corrugated iron sheets makeshift structures in the community
But another resident, Christain Alali, blamed the cause of the fire on a resident who forgot to put off his stove. He said the stove later exploded and set the makeshift buildings on fire.
Two female residents of the community lamented that they had left for work when the fire started and on rushing back home, their rooms had been razed completely and thus, they were not able to recover any of their belongings.
They called on Government to come to their rescue as they are left with nothing.
“I am left with only this skirt and blouse I wore to my place of work that I have in my whole life. My Certificates, vital documents, clothes, jewelries – everything I have are burnt. I need help. I am confused.”
Meanwhile, the PHALGA security personnel were on ground to prevent hoodlums from looting properties of residents that were recovered from the rooms by their owners.
Our correspondent reports that the Youth of the community were trying to use water mixed with detergents to put off the fire before the arrival of fire fighters.
As at press time the fire had been put under control.