Fire razes Imo deputy governor’s house, gas station

Fire on Wednesday and Thursday gutted five houses in different locations in Owerri, the Imo State capital, including that of the state’s Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere.

Other houses affected were popular Owerri joint, Ogwa Village, and Chris-T Gas Station, Egbu.

Our correspondent learnt that two other outfits, Choco Foods in Mbaitoli, and G-Towers Hotel, Port Harcourt Road, were gutted by fire same day.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, told our correspondent that no life was lost in all the five incidents.

“No life was lost in all the fire incidents. The police were visible and we ensured that no further damage was caused by the fire incident at the gas station. We condoned off the area and equally contacted professional firefighters,” Enwerem said on Thursday.

It was gathered that bush burning by some residents caused the fire that consumed the deputy governor’s lodge and Ibari Ogwa Village, while a wrong mixture of chemicals sparked off the fire that consumed Choco Foods.

When our correspondent arrived at the deputy governor’s house, firefighters, police operatives, including the deputy governor’s domestic workers, were seen battling the inferno.

The Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Uche Onwuchekwa, told our correspondent that property, including a vehicle belonging to his boss’ press crew estimated at N10m, were lost to the fire.

Onwuchekwa said the bush burning activities around the house was the cause of the fire because there were no electrical appliances that were switched on as of the time of the incident.

He said, “What is most important is that no life was lost. Men of the Imo State Fire Service, the deputy governor’s security aides, and some of his housekeepers helped to salvage the situation.”

Also, at Ibari Ogwa Village, the men of the state fire service, as well as the management of the outfit and sympathisers, were seen trying to put out the fire, which had already consumed the security house.

The Chief Executive Officer of the outfit, Chukwudi Ofoha, said the incident was as a result of carelessness of some neighbours who set the nearby bush on fire without monitoring the fire.

“As you can see, business is not affected.We are happy that the fire ended without any casualty,” he said.

The state Commissioner for Public Safety, Chidi Nwaturuocha, said, “I was in Mbaitoli to help put out the fire at Choco Foods. It was there that I got a call that Ibari Ogwa was also on fire. I had to organise our fire service men, who raced down to the 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 harmattan wind blew up the fire which rested on the thatched roof of the security house. From there, it spread to other buildings. Our fire service men were able to curtail the fire from spreading,” he said.

The commissioner lamented that the incident was a case of carelessness, adding that people usually took things for granted.

He advised hotel and business outfit owners to always engage the services of professionals, especially during the harmattan season.