By Okon Bassey in Uyo
It was a black Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital as seven persons lost their lives in a fire incident alleged caused by poor storage of fuel.
The inferno which occurred about 2 am at No 33 Ntia Street, off Ekpri Nsukara within the Uyo metropolis, THISDAY gathered, claimed the lives of a woman and her three children as well as three grandchildren of the landlady of the compound.
Luck was on the side of the Landlady, Mandam Monica Effiong and other occupant of the compound as they were rescued and taken to hospital.
An eye witness, Mr Ekemini Obot, who is the grandson to the landlady said his wife noticed the fire in the next compound when she went out to urinate and raised the alarm which attracted neigbours.
However, luck was not on the side of the victims as the fire had consumed them before needed help could come.
Mr. Obot said his grandmother and another occupant in the compound were rescued and rushed to the University of Uyo Teaching hospital for medical attention.
“I am Ekemini James Obot, the grandson to the land lady who owns this house that has been burnt.“The incident occurred around 2 am when my wife went outside to urinate and saw the fire and raised an alarm so we came outside and met the house burning.
“We noticed that the compound had been sprayed with petrol which helps the fire to burn easily.
Names of those that lost their lives in the inferno were given as; Daniel Sampson, Helen Sampson Itohoinyene Sampson all grandchildren to the landlady.
Others included; Nsikak, Queen, Nsisong and their mother Happy, all tenants.
According him, they suspected the incident to have been masterminded by a man who had land dispute with his grandmother and had promised to revenge.
He said the fire service men and the police came to the scene that night but were too late to be of any assistance.
Corpses of the victims were picked by the Police and deposited at a mortuary along Atiku Abubakar Way in Uyo metropolis.
The State Director of Fire Service, Mr Ndarake Ukpe, said he had been informed of the incident; lamenting that the residents of the area could not reached the fire service on time because they did not have the fire service phone numbers.
He said it was the police on patrol that alerted the firemen of the incident, stressing that his office was investigating the cause of the inferno.