Not less than seven vehicles parked at a mechanic workshop at No.1 Atan Offot, opposite mechanic village in Uyo, has been burnt to ashes, following a fire outbreak which happened at the early hours of Wednesday.
Narrating the incident to the reporter that visited the scene of the inferno, the Chairman, Nigerian Automobile Technicians Association (NATA) Ibanga David, who said he was alerted about the incidence around 3.45 am on Wednesday, maintained that when he arrived the workshop, they tried to quench the fire but could not contend it and had to call fire service who he said responded promptly to put off the fire.
David said vehicles of five of their colleagues’ customers were affected and burnt beyond repairs while a restaurant was equally affected leaving the property damaged.
The cause of the fire outbreak, he said could not be ascertained since it happened in an odd hour when people were fast asleep in their various houses.
He said the owners of the affected vehicles are on their necks and appealed to the government and other spirited individuals to provide financial assistance to help cushion the effect on them.
In a chat with the reporter, the rider officer of the federal fire service which help put off the fire, ASF II, Mr Usen Tiobong, said immediately they received the distressed call informing them about the incidence at about 4.40 am, they had to rush to the venue to contend the situation.
Tiobong said it took the efforts of both the federal and state fire service to extinguish and brought under control the fire which he said according to the inventory taken by the service had destroyed property worth 150 million.
On what could have possibly caused the fire at that hour of the night, the officer said their finding revealed that “one of the workers was burning some substance that ignited the fire which caused the damage of the vehicles”.
Tiobong, who said, “we once let them know that burning indiscriminately is not ideal in that kind of environment especially in this Harmatan season”, stressed the need for such places to have fire extinguisher as well as imbibe safety precautions.
Meanwhile, victims of the fire outbreak and some of the affected technicians who beared their minds have cried out to government and other agencies to come to their aid.
They said that the fire incidence was a great surprise to them in that it happened at a time when none of them were there except the security who alerted them.
A mechanic, Etini David, while narrating the ordeal they were going through in the hands of the owners of the affected cars, he said the customers were on their necks and pressurising them to buy their vehicles for them.
One of them who gave his name as Ephraim, noted that they were disorganized by the inferno that befell them and solicited for help from the government.
On her part, the owner of the affected restaurant, Mrs. Glory Sunday, said the ugly incidence has affected her means of livelihood, given that most of her properties have been destroyed.
She added that succour from government and any other well wishers will greatly suffice and help them stand up.
By Victor Essang