No fewer than 230 persons were killed while 73 others received various degrees of injuries in 222 recorded fire incidents that occurred in Port Harcourt and other parts of Rivers State in 2012.
A senior principal fire officer in the State Fire Service, Engr. Golden Elenga, disclosed this yesterday in Port Harcourt while speaking at a stakeholders' sensitisation workshop on fire emergency organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Elenga stated that out of 304 emergency fire calls received by the agency in 2012, 222 were real fire incidents, while 82 were false calls, stressing that the major fire incident that was recorded in the state was that of a petrol tanker fire that occurred at Okogbe community in Ahoada-West Local Government Area of the state.
He said in the Okogbe tanker fire incident alone, about 200 persons lost their lives while the remaining figure were recorded in other fire incidents in the state, pointing out that the fire incidents occurred between January and December 2012.
Giving a breakdown of the fire incidents in the state, the senior principal fire officer said, "In January 2012, 60 fire calls were received, 17 were false call while the actual fire incident was 43. In February we received 29 calls, 11 were actual fire incidents while 18 calls were false."
Elenga attributed most of the fire incidents which occurred between January and December 2012 in the state to electrical faults.
Speaking in a similar view, a principal fire superintendent of the state fire service Mrs. Ateme John-Bull enumerated some of the challenges faced by the agent to include obsolete equipments, poor training of fire fighting officers, and negative attitude of residents to fire fighters as well as indiscriminate refuse and bush burning.