fire outbreak
fire outbreak

A WOMAN and a six month old boy, were yesterday, burnt to death in their sleep by fire explosion resulting from suspected adulterated kerosene popularly known as ‘kpo fire’, at Rex Lawson street in Borikiri area of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. The fire also razed down the building known as number 11.  Pilot Friday Magazine, gathered that the mother of the baby, who is now receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital, had lit the stove loaded with the adulterated kerosene, which led to an explosion. Eye witness accounts have it that the woman,  the mother of the six month old baby, who incidentally, was able to run out her apartment with the fire that had already caught her clothes, and was saved by neighbours and rushed to an undisclosed hospital. An eye witness who gave her name as Ngozi, told this reporter that the dead woman, who is popularly known as Mama Uche, and sells African Salad, is the elder sister to the woman whose stove started the fire. “Mama Uche is her elder sister so she has already boiled her ‘abacha’ (cassava) and was waiting for the water to drip-off so she said let her go and relax at her younger sister’s place. “As she came she started feeling sleepy so she carried the younger sister’s son and they were sleeping together. As the fire started, and neighbours came to help put it out, nobody knew that people were sleeping. It was after the fire was doused  that we discovered their bodies”, said Ngozi. A neighbour to the victims, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, blamed the escalation of the fire on storage of adulterated petrol and kerosene in most buildings in the vicinity. He said: “Let the truth be told; all these rooms and buildings you see here are filled with adulterated petrol and kerosene. The fire wouldn’t have led to death of people if there were no ‘kpo fire’ petrol and kerosene stored here.” He however regretted the inability of fire fighters from the Rivers State Fire Service, who responded to distress calls, to have access to the affected buildings due to lack motorable space. It would be recalled that similar fire had killed two persons, a boy who was living with the sister and a daughter to a lady, who till date, had not recovered from burns resulting from the fire, in the same building, three years ago.


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