Less than a week after over 120 persons were roasted in a tanker explosion in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, another tragedy struck on Friday as residents witnessed yet another fire incidents in four different locations. While residents around Abuloma Jetty were jolted by the explosion of a vessel that claimed the lives of at least 30 persons, workers of Rivers State Newspaper Corporation lost property worth millions of naira as fire gutted the second floor of The Tide Newspaper building located on Ikwerre Road. Also, the Engineering Department of a Port Harcourt-based radio station, Rhythm FM, was razed by an early morning fire that had made the station to go off air.
Sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC in Rivers state Kayode Olagunju said that an oil vessel, around 9:45am, caught fire and exploded at the Abuloma water front, Trans Amadi in Port Harcourt. He further said the fire was restricted to the water area. FRSC, NEMA, Police and other rescue agencies are on ground. Casualty figures are yet unknown. The Rivers Police Command however affirmed that it did not suspect any foul play in the fires, which gutted the Abuloma jetty. Spokesman Ben Ugwuegbulam said the fire at Abuloma jetty was caused by a gas explosion.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, disclosed that the inferno destroyed the top floor of the building. She said that Gov. Chibuike Amaechi had directed experts from the state Ministries of Works and Housing to evaluate the extent of the damage. Semenitari said no life was lost at the Tide newspapers fire, but that vital documents were lost. Mr Celestine Ogolo, the General Manager of the newspaper corporation, said the fire began at about 2 a.m. on Friday. He said the fire consumed the entire top floor housing the general manager’s office.