From Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Properties worth millions of naira were lost yesterday morning, as a mentally deranged lady set a two-storey building on fire, at Uwani, Enugu, the Enugu State capital.
The lady was said to have set the building on fire after successfully resisting several attempts to move her to a psychiatric hospital.
Residents of Bigard Seminary Avenue, scene of the incident, were seen scampering for safety. It was observed that the fire affected the last floor of the building and would have spread to the entire house and adjoining buildings, if not for the alarm raised by the residents.
The fire was, however, controlled by men of the State Fire Service who arrived before it could affect other nearby buildings. It was learnt that the lady’s parents had attempted to send her to a psychiatric hospital when her mental illness started back in 2017.
The lady, who lived with her parents at the last floor of the two-storey building, started causing trouble lately, a development that forced her parents to invite policemen to help take her to the hospital.
A tenant, who narrated what led to the incident, said that trouble started when the parents invited some policemen to help bring the lady down from their flat to a psychiatric hospital.
He said: “When the policemen came early this morning, and the lady noticed that she was about to be taken away, she took the gallon containing fuel and poured the contents everywhere. When the policemen climbed up the building, the lady lit up the place. Her parents, who were coming up with the policemen and the cops themselves all ran for their lives.
“Her mother’s shout of fire! helped us to know that something was wrong. But, soonest, men of the Enugu State Fire Service rushed here and put out the fire that already consumed the two flats up. The fire men were able to save the entire building from burning completely,” a neighbour said.
The State Chief Fire Officer, Enugu State Fire and Emergency Service, Okwudili Ohaa, who confirmed the incident, said fire fighters fought gallantly to quench the fire when they got to the scene. He said they succeeded in quenching the fire with three fire engines because they encountered no serious difficulty in accessing the place.
He said: “At about some minutes past 6am today, Thursday, 10-11-2022, we received a distress call of a fire outbreak in a two-storey residential building, at Bigard, Zik Avenue, Uwani. We deployed two three trucks and firefighters to the fire scene. The fire was fought, controlled and extinguished with the assistance of the public who were at the scene before our arrival.
“Although the fire affected the last floor of the building, a lot were saved within and around the burning building. The fire affected the other flat because it was caused by petrol. They said it was a mentally deranged lady who started the fire.”
The lady was later rescued from the burning fire and was taken to the Enugu Neuropsychiatric Hospital for treatment.
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