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In Enugu Fire destroys UNN female hostel

According to the witnesses, the fire started around 7.30 p.m. from the last floor of the two-storey building as soon as the EDDC restored power to the campus.

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Rescuers say more than 49 people may have died. play

Rescuers say more than 49 people may have died.

(Vanguard)
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Fire has destroyed the Okeke Female Hostel at the University of Nigeria, UNN, Nsukka campus, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Eye witness and a student, Joy Uwalaka, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the incident happened on Wednesday night.

According to the witnesses, the fire started around 7.30 p.m. from the last floor of the two-storey building as soon as the EDDC restored power to the campus.

“It was when some of the students around the hostel started shouting fire! fire!!, that I jumped out from my hostel which was close to Okeke Hostel.

"There was a big smoke and fire burning on the last floor of Okeke Hostel,” she said.

Speaking with NAN, Mr Patrick Aro, the Chief Fire Officer in charge of Enugu North District, said that his men responded promptly to the distress call by some members of the public.

Aro whose office was close to UNN first gate, however, said that shortage of water to extinguish the raging fire made it to cause serious damage to the hostel.

“My men tried their best, as we rushed immediately we received calls that there was a fire outbreak in Okeke Hall.’’

When we had exhausted our water, we were unable to get a refill from the two boreholes in UNN as they had no water inside them, he said

Before we could get water in the boreholes in Nsukka town, the fire had razed the last floor, he said.

He said that he was disappointed that the two boreholes on the campus had no water.

Aro alleged that the gas cylinders and electric cookers in hostel added strength to the inferno and urged the management of UNN to stop allowing students to cook with gas cylinders and electric stoves.

“We saw gas cylinders and electric cookers in the course of trying to put-out the fire.

“Though some students said the fire started as soon as the EDDC restored light but those cooking gadgets gave a boost to fire.

“Had it been we were able to get water within the campus, the damage could have reduced,’’ he said.

Also, Prof. Peter Aka, the Dean of Students’ Affairs in the university said that the fire incident at hostel was an unfortunate one.

He promised that students in the affected hostel would be taken care of when they resumed in January.

“They have paid for accommodation fee and the school must provide alternative accommodations for them when they returned.

“Though, some students said the fire started when public light was restored, the university shall set-up a committee to find out the real cause of the fire so as to avert future recurrence.

“The university will compensate all students that lost those belongings and valuable, my happiness is that no life was lost,’’ he said.

Aka said the fire fighters exhausted their water on time because they came with a half-tank of water.

“When the fire fighters had exhausted their water, attempt to refill from the campus boreholes failed because there were no water inside them.

“It is unfortunate that every item in the last floor of the hostel got burnt into ashes, before the fire service could get water in the boreholes in Nsukka town. ‘he said.

Also speaking, Mr Ekene Orji, President of the Students Union Government (SUG) in UNN said he was yet to recover from the shock caused by the incident.

He said the SUG would partner the university authorities to ensure that the affected students were provided with alternative accommodations when school resumed.

“As students, this is a moment to show love to one another.

“SUG will do everything to reduce the suffering of the affected students as well as ensure e that they receive compensation from university management.’’

Chidimma Eze , one of the students in Okeke Hostel, said she lost many things to the inferno.

“My happiness is that no life was lost, I know God will provide money for me to replace what I had lost to this fire disaster,”she said.

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