Barely 12 days after last year Christmas eve fire disaster at a gas plant belonging to Chikason Group of Industries at Nnewi which claimed about 100 lives with property worth millions of naira destroyed, the Anambra state’s industrial-cum-commercial city, was again on Monday covered with a huge smoke as a petrol station in the area was gutted by fire.
According to sources, the incident occurred at about 6.20am. A petrol tanker was discharging fuel at the filling station when a customer drove in to fill his tank. As the filling station official was refuelling the car, the filling station suddenly caught fire.
Though no life was lost, some people were said to have sustained minor injuries while trying to escape from the fire.
The filling station, the fuel tanker discharging fuel at the station and the car which was being refuelled were all burnt by the fire according to some eyewitnesses.
Those who witnessed the unfortunate incident lamented that the fire would have been controlled if fire fighters had waded in early enough, as they lamented further that “even those who later came had no water in their tanks since they were borrowing gallons of water from people around the area.”
The fire incident partially burnt two buildings located around the filling station while some road side traders who displayed their goods outside their shops located close to the station also lost some of the goods which were burnt by the raging fire.
Decrying the incident, the member representing Nnewi-North constituency in Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon Amala Anazodo said when he received a distress call alerting him about the incident, he quickly rushed to two fire stations in Awka, the state capital but was disappointed because none of them responded quickly.
Even the Okpoko fire service station at Ogbaru which eventually came according to sources could not help put out the fire because they didn’t have enough water.
A petroleum marketer in Nnewi who spoke on the incident on condition of anonymity lamented that it was carelessness on the part of the managers of the filling station that caused the fire outbreak.
He also criticised the state government for not being able to maintain a functional fire service station as according to him, “every filling station in Anambra pays N100, 000 to government annually, yet the government can’t maintain functional fire service station anywhere in the State”.