The Cross River Fire Service has disclosed that grounded equipment was the reason why it could not respond to calls to put out the fire that engulfed shops in the Hewett area of the popular Watt Market, in Calabar.
The assertion was made by Mr Peter Ewona, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the service during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Friday (20 Oct. 2023) in Calabar.
It would be recalled that in the early hours of Thursday (19 Oct. 2023), there was a massive fire outbreak that engulfed shops in the Hewett area of Watt Market.
However, some of the occupants of the shops that were raised confirmed that all their efforts to alert the state fire service were unsuccessful.
Ewona said he got a call about the fire incident in the market but at the moment the state Fire Service was seriously challenged.
“Our appliances are grounded, we had gone to the state government and corporate entities to help us fix these appliances but we are still where we are, so, there was nothing we could do.
“The service has well-trained firefighters who are combat-ready to fight fire incidents but if the equipment to combat fire outbreaks are not there, it remains a huge challenge.
“On my own, I contacted our sister agency, the Federal Fire Service but could not reach them,” he said.
Speaking further, the PRO said the condition of the state Fire Service throws back the weight of ensuring that there were no fire outbreaks on the public.
He said Nigerians must learn to put off electrical appliances in their homes, offices and shops when they are not around to prevent power surges capable of causing fire outbreaks.
He also used the opportunity to appeal again to the state government and good-spirited Nigerians to assist the State Fire Service in refurbishing its grounded equipment to enable them to work.
“We have appliances that were donated to us by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) but they are grounded, it may not cost much to refurbish.
“We appeal for assistance from not just government but companies and individuals to help us refurbish these equipment,” he maintained. (NAN)