Tony John, Port Harcourt
An inferno has destroyed property worth millions of naira at 27 Igboukwu Street, D/Line, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Daily Sun learned from residents that the fire started from one of the apartments, where a 50-litre jerrycan containing adulterated fuel, popularly known as Kpo Fire, was stored.
No casualty has been recorded in the fire incident, which started in the early hours of Tuesday.
Most of the affected tenants recounted their ordeal in the inferno, lamenting that they lost all their belongings.
One of the female tenants said: ‘I forced myself out. This wrapper I tied to cover my nakedness was given to me by one of my fellow tenants. It was my neighbour that told me that the fire started from the other apartment. She said the owner of the apartment stored Kpo Fire kerosene there.’
Another property owner in the residential building, Prince Nwika, has appealed to the Rivers State Government and charitable individuals to come to their aid. He said the fire incident destroyed all they had.
‘As it is now, we don’t know where to start from. All of us here are homeless. Nobody here has where to stay. We are appealing to government and well-meaning individuals to help us. Most of the people in the compound are married couples with families.’
Speaking at the scene of the incident, the River State Commissioner for Special Duties, Thomas Bariere, warned residents against storing petroleum products at home.
‘I have said this time without number and I will continue to say, that people should be mindful how they store material like kerosene at home,’ the Commissioner said.
‘Look at the fire incident at 27 Igboukwu Street. Our preliminary investigation just revealed that the fire was as a result of the storage of adulterated kerosene.
‘We have been telling members of the public to be careful about how they store materials capable of igniting a fire. Thank God for the timely intervention of our firemen. Otherwise, the fire would have extended to other compounds that are nearby.
‘We want to continue to advise members of the public not to be carefree when it comes to materials capable of igniting fire.’