By Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy
Two months old baby whose name was given as Chinemelem and 3 year old sister were rescued through the window of a storey building on Tuesday 11th June, 2019 during an inferno that razed down the building at No.2 Nawfia Street, Abakaliki.
According to the father of the child, Mr. Michael Ogbodo, narrated amidst profuse sobbing that he was in his shop at Industrial Market in Abakaliki, when he received a distress call informing him that his room was on fire.
He said, when he arrived at the scene, he heard how his family was rescued through the window including his two months old baby whereas no item was picked from the room.
Speaking with one of the victims, Mrs. Onah Alice, she narrated that she was in the bathroom when she perceived something was burning.
She said that almost immediately, her son raised alarm and rushed to the room but discovered that the room was locked and they succeeded in breaking the door open but all effort to control the fire was fruitless as it had covered the entire room.
In another account, another victim, Mr. Mgbebu Oliver, who hailed from Amagu in Ikwo Local Government Area, told Citizens’ Advocate that he was in his room upstairs when the alarm was raised and that attracted sympathizers whose effort could not yield any result to control the fire.
Mr. Mgbebu lamented that nothing was saved from his room including his school certificate, calling on the state government through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and other concerned Ebonyians to come to their aid.
Another victim of the fire, a mother of five children, Mrs. Ede Lucy said that she was awakened by the different shout of help and was assisted with wrapper she used to tie her child.
In an interview with the Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Ebonyi State, Mr. Sunday Nwali blamed high level of destruction on late invitation of fire service, coupled with the people’s distraction.
He however advised metropolitans to deem it necessary to have their office emergency number in their various rooms as nobody could predict fire incident.
The Chief Fire Officer, Ebonyi state, Engr. Esene Rapheal hinted that men of fire service was able to secure the down stair due to late invitation, noting that the cause of the fire has not be established as they cannot ascertain that until they carry out proper inspection.
He warned residents to shun use of cooking gas inside their room as he said two cylinders gas has exploded while trying to put out the fire.