It was a pitiable spectacle as fire gutted some residential buildings, and shops along old Timber market Road, World Bank Housing Estate, Umuahia, Abia State, destroying properties worth millions of naira.
The fire incident was said to have occurred about 11pm on Saturday night after the EEDC restored power to the area. It is believed that the incident may not be unconnected with power surge.
Speaking with our correspondent yesterday, the caretaker of the affected buildings, James Chinkwe Awom, gave the number of affected shops as four including his two-bedroom apartment.
According to him, efforts by neighbours and passers-by to bring the fire under control was unsuccessful before the arrival of men of the Abia State Fire Service.
One of the owners of the affected shops, a tailor, who gave his name as Friday, said he lost about six sewing machines which costs N150,000 each, two generators, customers’ cloths, and other valuables in the shop.
A worker in the next door pool betting office, Mrs. Honour, said cash and other valuables which were in the shop, including her school certificates were consumed by the fire.
The victims, appealed to the state government, good-spirited Nigerians, and the general pub- lic to come to their aid to enable them return to business again. When contacted, the Director, Abia State Fire Service, Mr. Arua Nnanna expressed regret over the incident.
He said the quick intervention of his men saved other nearby buildings from being affected by the fire incident.
Mr. Nnanna said poor building plans which did not allow for space between the buildings posed a challenge in responding to the incident.
He advised Abians to always switch off their appliances while leaving home, even as he maintained that the cause of the fire remain unknown till a proper investigation was conducted.
While commending the neighbours for their intervention, the State Fire Service Director also appealed to Abians to get fire extinguishers in their homes in case of fire outbreaks