By Samuel Akaniyene, Uyo
A depot belonging to the Nigeria Bottling Company in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, was on Wednesday night engulfed by fire with goods and property worth millions of naira destroyed at the parking lot.
Although the actual cause of the fire could not be ascertained but an eyewitness, Mr. Ekong Charles, said the inferno was triggered from a little spark of flame from where thousand heaps of pallets had been kept.
Charles stated that if not for the quick intervention of fire fighters from the state fire service the inferno would have spread to the building.
“The fire started from where the pallets are kept and the state fire service was quickly alerted to control the spread to other buildings. In fact, it was so serious; if not for the quick intervention of the fire fighters it would have consumed the entire depot. Five trucks of fire fighting vehicles were brought to extinguish the fire.”
Speaking with our correspondent, the Chief Fire Officer in Akwa Ibom, Mr. Ndarake Ukpe, said that due to the intensity of the fire he had to mobilise his men from Ikot Ekpene, Abak and Akpan Andem to join Uyo to put out the fire around 10pm on Wednesday.
According to Ukpe, the cause of the fire incident was yet unknown; he appealed to residents to be careful in handling inflammable materials during the harmattan.
He said that no life was lost to the inferno as the place had been cordoned by security personnel to avert situation where hoodlums might hijack the incident to unleash unpleasant surprises.
His words: “Fire does not just happen but it is caused by carelessness and fake electrical installations in our buildings. We have organised seminars to people in the market to avoid storing fuel in their houses.
“We are committed to ensuring that our department respond to fire calls within record time so that minimal loss is recorded.”