From: Judex Okoro, Calabar
A Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) faulty power cable has electrocuted two persons and destroyed over 20 apartments worth millions of naira in Calabar Metropolis of Cross River State.
This was coming barely six months after over nine persons were electrocuted and several others injured at Nyangassang in Edibe Top Community during one of the UEFA Cups between Manchester United FC of England and Anderlecht of Belgium.
The incident, which occurred about 10:00p.m, on Monday, at Adak Uko Street, off Mbukpa Road in Calabar South, was a result of the power surge coming from the old PHEDC cable.
An eyewitness, Mr. Itorobong Akpan, said the ugly incident was caused by a power surge which immediately cut off the cable form the pole, while it fell directly on the roof of the building when some generating sets were on.
Akpan, a victim, said immediately the cable fell on the roof, there was a spark and the suddenly the entire building was gutted by fire and there was pandemonium.
He said: “This is the fifth time this year between last month and this month that this high tension cable has fallen. Yesterday, at about 10:00pm, we heard some sounds and suddenly, the cable fell off and landed on our roof. The cable is a high tension and there was a huge vibration and this lit up the whole compound. The zinc, protectors, fan were all reddish and power was still on.
“We called the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company severally and there was no answer. We called the State Fire service and there was no answer until the Divisional Police Officer for Mbukpa went to the Fire Service and persuaded them to come. The fire service said government has not given them money to repair the vehicles.
“They contacted the Federal Airport Fire Service for solace and were told that they are not coming. All these happened for over forty minutes and the power supply was still on. So that’s what happened.
“Most occupants of the building were around when this inferno occurred but the young boy who died ran out of his apartment and touched an antenna pole and got electrocuted while the lady who died owns a steel provisions store in the compound. She touched the steel housing her provision store and also got executed.
“During the electrocution, I told those who were inside their apartments to remain inside and they heeded my advice and so that’s why a number of lives have been saved. It could have been worse. I was also inside my shop until the electrocution ceased”, he narrated.
Reacting, the Divisional Police Officer for Mbukpa Police Station, Peter Gomba, confirmed the incident and expressed regrets that the state fire service lacked the capacity to come to the aid of the people when their services was most needed.
He commended the youths of the community for cooperating with the police to ensure that the number of causalities and incidences of looting were minimised.