Midnight fire razes shops in River

Debris of the burnt shops

A midnight fire has razed over 10 shops at T-junction area of Rumuagholu Town in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.

This is about the sixth fire incident occurring in the state this year where traders and residents have lost goods and properties worth millions of naira.

The Guardian gathered that the fire started around 2:am in the night destroying several lockup shops following inability of firefighters to arrive at the scene.

Traders in the market who arrived later after phone calls was put to them by friends and relatives, disclosed that the inferno was a result of electrical fault in one of the shops.

One of the eyewitnesses narrated that the fire started when the electricity company restored power around 2:am.

He said, “The fire started at immediately power was restored. So it is believed that it was as a result of electrical fault in one of the shops.

“The fire started at midnight so there was no way to get through to the shop owners to come and remove their property.

“We could not rescue anything. Even the fire service we called came, but before they got here the havoc has already been done.

Speaking further, one of the victims who sells shoes , Emmanuel Nodi, said, “ This shop you are seeing is my shop,this morning my brother called me that fire is burning in our shop and before I could get here, everything has burnt.

Another victim, Mrs.Victoria, said, “ this is the time we need government’s help more than ever, we are just recovering from COVID-19 lockdown and this happened. This morning they called me that fire is burning in my shop before I arrived, everything was gone.

Meantime, the Zonal Controller of Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, PortHarcourt , Godday Ineh, has attributed the major causes of fire outbreaks to illegal storage of premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as fuel at homes.

He therefore, urged landlords to sue tenants who store illegal petrol in their houses stating that it is a societal crime.

He said, “Apart from indiscriminate storage of PMS, another problem bedevilling us is breaking of oil pipelines , stealing of crude, illegal refining. Most of these people, when they refine , the don’t take it to market because no body will patronise them , they look for illegal way of storing it”.

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