Pain was visited on some residents of Jikwoyi, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as a result of a sudden inferno that razed their building recently.
On Saturday,February 3, 2018, the tenants and landlord of the building, located in Jikwoyi Phase 2, got more than they bargained for, as the building, which served as residential quarters and business premises, went up in flames, throwing the occupants into total penury and confusion.
Like every other day, occupants of the six flats and nine shops in the building ended the day on a cheerful note, looking forward to the next day with optimism, but their hopes went up in flames as a sudden fire outbreak consumed the building.
Abuja Metro gathered that preliminary investigation confirmed that the inferno started from one of the shops occupied by a computer hardware engineer.
A witness, who identified himself as Osondu, alleged that the computer engineer forgot to unplug a soldering iron, which he used to fix a computer the previous day.
The soldering iron, he said, turned on immediately power was restored in the middle of the night, when all the shops’ occupants had gone home. The soldering iron started burning the table on which it was kept; it spread to other parts of the shop and started a fire.
“Apparently unattended to for long, it rose through the hardware up to the roof and ended in the next shop that was occupied by someone that sold phones and accessories. From there, it spread to other shops. Before people realised what was happening, the fire razed the nine shops and six flats attached to the shop,” he said.
Osondu added that the attention of other residents and passers-by was drawn to the inferno at about 4am, when a distress call was placed to the FCT Fire Service as well as the police.
“The first fire truck arrived a few minutes after but they could not extinguish the fire because it had spread widely. A reinforcement came shortly after with more experienced professionals and the combined efforts of the firefighters, police and neighbours led to the extinction of the fire,” he said.
He blamed the computer engineer, whom he said exhibited total carelessness with his work tools, especially the soldering iron.
“His carelessness has inflicted pains and unexpected hardship on the people. The guy that sells phones and accessories just returned with fresh goods the previous day. Now all has turned to ashes. The woman that deals in textile materials also lost goods worth millions of naira. It is a pathetic situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, one of the occupants of a flat in the building who identified herself as Mariam, said her family has been thrown into the street unexpectedly, “but I thank God that no life was lost. We were able to escape with minor injuries.”
She said: “Unfortunately, we could not pick anything out of the house because the fire came suddenly from the roof. We were all asleep when shouts of “fire! fire!! fire!!!” rent the air. We woke up confused, to the point that we could not find our way to the door. But we were able regain consciousness shortly and escape with minor injuries. All our household items have been turned to ashes.”
She appealed to FCT administration, National Emergency Management Agency and kind-hearted Nigerians to come to their aid so they could start life again.
Meanwhile, the police have cordoned off the burnt building pending the conclusion of investigations.