DMGS Fire in Ontsha: 2000 students escape death ; 20 feared dead, 50 Vehicles, 25 buildings burnt reports that over 2000 boarding students of Dennis Memorial Crammer School(DMGS) Onitsha escaped unhurt as the fire razed almost everything within that environment. The students were on bed when the incident happened.

As well no fewer than 20 people were feared killed by a ravaging inferno Wednesday night in Onitsha. The incident happened when a  fuel tank vehicle exploded at the upper new market road very close to the popular Dennis Memorial Crammer School(DMGS) Onitsha.

The fire also razed no fewer than 25 buildings and burnt about 50 vehicles among other property worth over N10 Billion.
Over 1,000 people resident in the affected buildings were seen homeless as at the time of filling in this report. The displaced persons were seen on a helpless state, grieving on their lost and cried out to the state government to come to their aid..

And that has brought anguish, great wailing and loud lamentation among residents of Onitsha, the commercial nerve center of Anambra State on Thursday.
The  fire incident affected a Mobil Filling Station within DMGS Round About around 8pm on Wednesday night and continued unabated up till Thursday morning, destroying goods and property worth over N10 billion.
   Despite the fear for loss of over 20 persons,  a state fire fighter Martin Agbili insisted that no life was lost as at 1 am Wednesday night at the scene of the incident.
Agbili said four fire incidents happened in the state on Wednesday but none was as scandalous as the Onitsha inferno and appealed to residents to be cautious about setting their environment on fire, describing the Onitsha inferno as disaster.
As well, the Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Anambra State, Prof. Peter Katchy, said the Red Cross was yet to ascertain the actual number of casualties.
Addressing the press, after hours of waiting , the state governor ,Mr. Willie Obiano accompanied by The Obi of Onitsha , HRH Alfred Achebe expressed deep concern to the extent of the damage caused by the fire incidence, compared to other fire incidence at Nimo, Okpuno, and Awka same yesterday.
He however promised displaced families according to him numbering fifteen a shelter to accommodate them till the burnt structures are reconstructed, and also due compensations to the affected businesses. He also pledged that gas stations will henceforth cease cohabiting with human residence.
To further improve on services rendered by  the Fire service brigade, the Governor professed that's Three Mercedes water van with three capacity carriers, comprising of 10000 liter tank, rescue foams and 75kg powder has being ordered by the state and would fully be placed at strategic locations in Anambra state to help manage such situations when they occur..

    A resident of the area who gave his name as Acho Oboli, said the incident started around 8pm on Wednesday, when a petrol tanker driver lost control of his vehicle within the Zik’s Round About (DMGS axis), and veered into a Mobil Filling Station sited at the area.
    His words:  “As the 33-liter tanker fully loaded with fuel hit a pillar in the filling station, it fell and fuel started gushing out, and flowed down the gutters of Oboli Lane, Oguta Road and Upper New Market Road; and immediately, there was an explosion, and fire caught everywhere.
    “11 buildings were burnt down at Oboli Lane, 4 at Oguta Road and 4 at the Upper New Market Road.
    “Some of the buildings affected were the popular Karmo Plaza, the well known SOUL Super market, the notable REX Chemist, electronic stores, book shops, residential buildings and law chambers.
    “About 48 vehicles, including 2 security patrol vehicles were also destroyed”, he narrated.
    He said also that about 14 persons who were confirmed dead in his presence have been taken to the morgue of the Onitsha General Hospital, while other casualties were receiving treatment at different hospitals within the commercial city.
    When went round the scene of the inferno, people were seen in clusters, in their hundreds, discussing about the development. All shops and business premises, including banks within the area could not open for businesses; even as smoke billows from burnt buildings and vehicles.
It was leant that the Asaba fire fighting team arrived the scene 2 hours after so many damage has been done and the Anambra fire fighters could not come as expected.

    Those who spoke to at the scene of the incidence heaped blames on Onitsha fire fighters, who they said, could not respond fast. However, a fire fighting personnel who was spotted by our correspondent at the area, who gave his name as George, said they were not informed early enough about the incident.

    Contacted, the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nkiruka Nwode, said that police officials have been deployed to the area; adding that the headquarters was yet to get the detailed report of the incidence.
    As at the time of filing this report, many religious, political and market leaders have visited the scene of the incidence and condoled with the affected individuals and families, including Bishop Owen Nwokolo of the Niger Diocese, Anglican Communion; Archbishop Valerian Okeke of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, the PPA leader in Anambra State, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, Mr. Oseloka Obaze (former SSG, Anambra State) and Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, the chairman of the South East Amalgamated Traders Association.

Others include lawmakers from the Anambra State House of Assembly, including Hon. Chigbo Enwezor, Hon. Nkemdiche Ikeazu, among others.
  Mr Oseloka Obaze’s statement read: ‘’Today I visited the scene of the horrific fire accident at the Oguta Road Awka road junction at Onitsha that destroyed a petrol station, and several homes and businesses. I commiserate with the victims of this unfortunate incident, while noting the huge financial and material losses which will run into billions of Naira.
‘’Once again, our people have fallen victim to fire incident, which could have been prevented and contained sooner, were the necessary public service facilities like fire hydrants, fire trucks and pipe borne water easily accessible.
‘’This particular incident underlines the zoning policy and enforcement failure and the increasing indiscriminate sitting of petrol stations next to residential areas in our cities and towns.
‘’Governmental and public service agencies responsible for approvals and monitoring of petrol station sitting and activities, must assume vicarious responsibility for incidents such as these. Moreover, security of our people includes public safety and protection from being in harms way, including unwarranted fire and traffic accidents’’.
Speaking during his visit, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, sympathized with the affected individuals, families and business owners who lost persons, properties and money to the fire; while also urging petroleum dealers to be more careful with the product they deal in, especially within this harmathan season.
    The chairman of the South East Amalgamated Traders Association, Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, also condoled with the victims and prayed God to give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
DMGS Fire in Ontsha: 2000 students escape death ; 20 feared dead, 50 Vehicles, 25 buildings burnt DMGS Fire in Ontsha:  2000 students escape death ; 20 feared dead, 50 Vehicles, 25 buildings burnt Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Thursday, February 16, 2017 Rating: 5

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