Scores escape death as twin three-storey building gutted by fire in Anambra

Anambra Commissioner of Police, John Abang


By Sunny A. David, Onitsha

A double three-storey building was gutted by fire at Emenike/Ezeugo road junction, Okpoko, Ogbaru Local Government Area, Anambra State.

The inferno, which occurred at about 8pm, according to investigation, had two versions to its cause.

While some said it started in one of the flats in the last floor where a gas cooker blew off, contrary view had it that it was caused by candle light that the occupants left on and went to bed.

When our correspondent got to the scene, some tenants who fled the scene were seen counting their losses as they lost all their possessions to the inferno.

A brother to the owner of the building who did not disclose his name, refused newsmen from taking photograph of the burnt building despite identification that he demanded from us on arrival, he blatantly refused to respond to questions put across to him.

Efforts made by the Okpoko Fire Service Men to put out the inferno yielded dividend as they stopped it from escalating to other floors even as the water used to quell it got finished midway, which gave way for the second floor to be touched.

According to an eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, “on arrival to the scene, the fire service men prevented the fire from extending to the second floor as they used their expertise to relentlessly fight it but their water got finished and the inferno penetrated to the second floor.

“It was then smoking everywhere that enveloped the entire place forcing residents of the area and sympathisers to assist by pouring sand and water to the inferno and it was quenched.”

Properties estimated into millions of naira were burnt by the raging inferno prompting residents in the area to flee for their lives.

Casual labourers and artisans were reportedly employed by the owner to clear the debris that included burnt sinks, among others.

Confirming the incident, the acting Okpoko Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Mr. George Okoro, who said that no life was lost, added: “They said it was caused by gas explosion but we are yet to find out.”

The DPO, who also has ensured that Obodoukwu and Owerri Roads are no longer blocked with wares by traders since after the tricycle auto crash in which two persons lost their lives, said they were still investigating to ascertain the exact cause of the inferno.

In a related development, fire also slightly touched another three-storey building along Limca Old Road Obosi same day and time.

No life was lost and people assisted to put it out as it was about to escalate. It was gathered that the cause may not be unconnected with gas depot close to the scene which one of the cylinders reportedly exploded and touched the roof of the building.

Scores of residents in Onitsha escaped death when a twin three-story building located at Emenike/Ezeugo road junction was gutted by fire on Wednesday.

The area is in Okpoko in Ogbaru local government area of Anambra State.

The inferno said to have been ignited by gas cooker, started about 8 o’clock in the night in one of the flats on the last floor.

Property worth millions of naira belonging to some tenants were lost to the inferno and the victims were seen counting their losses.

Prompt arrival of officials of Okpoko Fire Service saved other floors from being affected.

However, an eyewitness who pleaded anonymity said the fire advanced to the second floor as the water from the firefighters got exhausted midway.

According to him, “on arrival to the scene, the fire service men made frantic efforts to prevent the fire from extending to the second floor but their water got finished.

“It was smoke which enveloped the entire place that forced residents and sympathisers to assist in pouring sand and water to the inferno before it was quenched.”

The Acting Divisional Police Officer of Okpoko Mr. George Okoro confirmed that no life was lost.

Okoro also said that the incident is still being investigated to ascertain the exact cause of the inferno.”

In a related development, another three-story building was also gutted by fire the same day along Limca old road, Obosi, near Onitsha.

The cause of the inferno, it was gathered, may not be unconnected with a gas depot close to the scene where one of the cylinders reportedly exploded, setting fire to the roof of the building.

No life was also lost as people rallied to put out the fire.

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