By: Patrick Titus, Uyo,
Ekpri Nsukara community in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state is wearing a mourning look following a fire outbreak which claimed the lives of six children and a woman while other valuables were also destroyed in a compound located at No. 33 Ntia Street on Friday.
An eye witness, Mr. Ekemini Obot said the incident happened around 2 a.m on Friday when the victims were sleeping in their room.
Obot who identified himself as the grandson to the land lady; Madam Monica Effiong whose compound was gutted by fire, said his wife first noticed the incident when she went outside to urinate and raised alarm that alerted neighbours to scene.
“I am Ekemini James Obot, grandson to the land lady who owned this house that has been burnt. The incident occurred around 2 a.m when my wife went outside to urinate and saw the fire and raised an alarm so we came outside and met the house burning. We noticed that the compound had been spread with petrol which helped the fire to burn easily”.
On whom he suspected could be behind the tragedy, Mr. Obot said, “Since we noticed that the compound was spread with petrol which increased the intensity of the burning, we suspect a man who had dispute with my grandmother over a land, and who had promised to fight back to be a mastermind”.
According to him, efforts to put out the fire and rescue lives were unsuccessful because even the fire service men and Police who came to the scene upon distress calls arrived too late.
He gave the names of those who died in the ill-feted inferno to include; Daniel Sampson, Helen Sampson and Itohoinyene Sampson all grand children to the landlady Madam Monica Effiong while Nsikak, Queen, Nsisong and their mother, Happy were tenants.
Obot added that his grandmother who is the land lady of the compound who was unconscious on noticing the incident considering the huge lost, was rushed to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital for medical attention.
When asked, the Director of Fire Service in the State Mr. Ndarake Ukpe confirmed the incident but lamented that the residents of the area could not reached the fire service on time because they did not have the fire service phone numbers.
According to Mr. Ukpe, the Service knew the incident through the Police on patrol who sent a distress call and alerted the firemen who immediately rush to the scene but could not help since the information came late. Nevertheless he said the command was investigating into the remote cause of the fire.
Meanwhile, corpses of the victims have been deposited at a private mortuary in Uyo.