Fire Razes Imo Deputy Governor’s Lodge, Ibari Ogwa Village, Gas Station, Others In Owerri


Remains of the Imo deputy governor’s lodge

Owerri, the Imo State capital, was on Wednesday and Thursday visited by a harvest of fire outbreaks in diffrrent locations, including Imo State deputy governor’s lodge and hotels which were gutted by fire.

Apart from the deputy governor’s lodge, part of popular Owerri “Joint”, Ibari Ogwa Village along Owerri- Port Harcourt Road and Chris-T Gas station, Egbu were equally gutted by fire.

This came as two other outfits, Choco Foods in Mbaitoli and G-Towers Hotel, Port Harcourt Road were also gutted by fire same day.

According to the spokesman of the state police command, Andrew Enwerem, no life was lost in all the five incidents.

At the Deputy Governor’s Lodge and Ibari Ogwa Village, it was gathered that a nearby bush burning carried out by some people across the fence could be the cause of the fire outbreak, while at Choco Foods, it was gathered that a wrong mixture of chemicals sparked off the fire that consumed the factory.

But, at G-Towers Hotel, it was learnt that faulty airconditioner in one of the rooms at third floor sparked off the fire while at Chris-T Gas station, Egbu, no reason was given for the explosion, which happened behind the Egbu Anglican Bishop Court around 8pm Wednesday at Chris-T Gas station, created tention and panic among residents of the area even as the bishop and his family were said to be huriedly evacuated from the Bishop Court that night.

When our correspondent arrived at the scene of the incident at the deputy governor’s lodge Thursday afternoon, he was said to be out of town, but men of the fire service, security operatives and staff of the deputy governor were seen making frantic effort to put out the fire which had already consumed the bush bar and one of the buses parked in the compound.

Also, at Ibari Ogwa on Wednesday evening, the state commissioner for Public Safety and the men of the state fire service as well as the management of the outfit and sympathizers were already on ground to assist to put out the fire which had already consumed the security house.

Speaking with our correspondent on phone, the press secretary to the deputy governor, Uche Onwuchekwa put the cost of damaged proerty to about N10 million.

He explained that a tongue of fire from the bush burning nearby might have caused the fire because there were no electrical appliances that were on.

Onwuchekwa added that the fire service men and the deputy governor’s security operatives rallied round to prevent the fire from escalating to the main building, stating that the most important thing was that there was no life lost.

In his own account, the Chief Executive Officer of the outfit, Mr. Chukwudi Ofoha, said the incident was as a result of carelessness of some neighbours who set the nearby bush on fire without monitoring its movement.

He thanked God for the personnel who were around to contain the fire, saying the incident had not disturbed his business.

“As you can see, business is going on. We’re happy that the fire ended up the way it did. There is no problem”, he said.

Ibari Ogwa

Speaking with journalists, the state commissioner for public safety, Prince Chidi Nwaturuocha said “I was in Mbaitoli where we went to help to put out fire at Choco Foods which factory was gutted by fire early afternoon. It was there that I got a call that Ibari Ogwa was on fire. I had to organise our fire service men who instantly raced down to this place to curtail the fire from reaching other buildings within the complex.

“The fire was a case of bush burning by some neighbours or hunters within the nearby bush. So it happened that the harmathan wind blew up a tongue of fire which rested on the thatched roof at the security house. From there the fire started spreading to other buildings. It took the dexterity of our fire service men to be able to curtail the fire from spreading because the thatch itself is fuel”, he said.

The commissioner lamented that the incident was a case of carelessness, adding “people take certain things for granted. When we tell people to be careful about the way they handle fire and other inflammables this season, people don’t seem to take that serious. People should stop burning bushes and take precautionary measures whenever they do so”.

He advised hotel and business outfit owners to always engage the services of professionals especially now that the harmattan season had set in, recalling that the incident at Choco foods was exactly what led to a gas explosion that left four person dead at petrol station in Orji, Owerri late last year.

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