By Izunna Okafor, Awka
The Managing Director of the Anambra State Fire Service, Engr Dr Martin Agbili, has attributed the cause of the devastating Tuesday fire outbreak in Onitsha, Anambra State, to “a heavy chemical explosion”.
Engr Agbili, in a statement issued to newsmen in Awka, explained that the fire outbreak which happened at a section of the popular Ọgbọ Ọgwụ Market, led to the collapse of part of the market building and also caused the loss of some lives and injuring of many people, the total number of which is yet to be ascertained.
According to him, the terrible explosion actually took place at the Science and Lab Line of Ọgbọ Ọgwụ Market, and not in the entire Ọgbọ Ọgwụ Market, Onitsha.
While noting that he received a distress call at about 12:30 pm about the fire; the Anambra Fire Chief said firefighters and firefighting trucks were quickly deployed to the scene, where they battled the fire, together with the firefighters from the Federal Fire Service attached to Anambra State.
He further revealed that about 80 shops were affected, not really because of the fire outbreak, but because of the terrible vibration of the explosions that caused the collapse of some buildings in the market.
“It is really a terrible situation but the fire is under control. About 80 shops were affected not really because of the fire outbreak but because of the vibration of the explosions that caused the collapses of some Market buildings.
“On the advice of the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, who represented our hardworking Governor, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, a lot of safety measures were taken this night to protect the entire market. The Honourable Commissioner for Power and Water Resources, Engr Julius Chukwuemeka, was also there with the Deputy Governor.
“Although, there are casualties, but we can’t ascertain the actual number of the death and the injured,” he said.
Engr Agbili also noted that he left the fire scene in the late hours of the night, while his men spent the night at the scene, to see that the affliction did not rise the second time.
“I left the fire scene back to Awka at about 2345hrs (11:45 pm) with Deputy Governor and some Commissioners who came to sympathize with the victims and the market leaders.
“While leaving, our men (firefighters and fire trucks) from both Anambra State Fire Service and Federal Fire Service were still on standby at the scene in case of any other eventuality,” he said.
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