The Abia State Fire Service on Friday, assured traders that the firefighting agency in the state has been well equipped by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu administration and prepared to combat any fire outbreak in the state especially in the markets “including high-hazard flammable, non-flammable and hydrocarbon fire” during this harmattan season.
The Acting State Chief Fire Officer, Mr. Arua Nnanna, who gave the assurance during a meeting with the Honorable Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu and market leaders at the commissioner’s office in Umuahia, said the Service was ready to work with stakeholders to prevent and combat fire outbreaks during this harmattan period and beyond and called on the traders to put preventive measures in place to forestall fire outbreaks.
“We are calling on the traders to create sanitary lanes in their various markets to enable free and easy movement within the markets, clearing of bushes which can trigger fire outbreaks within and around the markets, creation and designation of zones in the markets for different products, prohibition of cooking and smoking in the markets, provision of water supply in the markets to enable easy access to water supply for fire trucks when needed”, saying these will help prevent escalation during fire outbreaks.
Earlier in his address, the Honorable Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu had assured the fire Chief and traders that the state government was committed to equipping the state fire service through provision of the necessary equipment to enable it carry out its onerous task efficiently during this season and beyond.
He tasked the men of the fire service to utilize the tools at their disposal to protect lives and properties including those of traders and other residents in the state during this period and beyond.
“When you have a market in flames, the effect can be devastating; it will not only affect traders but also their dependents. Governor Ikpeazu, as a leader who does not play with the welfare of Abians, particularly traders, will not spare anyone who fails to do his job in that regard
“The biggest protection is to collectively protect ourselves. All market leaders must live up to expectation and protect their markets as government is also committed to assisting to prevent and control fire outbreaks in our markets.
“The Uratta Market fire is a painful occurrence not just for the traders but also those dependent on them. The governor has directed that we adopt measures to forestall future occurrence even as Government is committed to putting an end to incidents of fire outbreak in our markets,” he said.
The Commissioner directed all chairmen of markets in the state to immediately install overhead water tanks in their various markets to enable easy access to water for fire trucks when needed.
Chief John Okiyi Kalu further charged the market security to be up and doing in their duty, tasking them to be vigilant and ensure strict inspection of all liquids coming into the markets and prevent those that could be used to trigger fire outbreak by arsonists.
The fire chief later made available the service’s contact lines for residents to reach them when necessary as follows: 07038656651 (Headquarter), 08038872490 (Aba), 08039344832 (Umuahia), 08084474912 (Aba), 08030771250 (Federal Fire Service Umuahia).
The meeting had in attendance the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Chief Sir Michael Égwu, the Director of Commerce, Elder Mecha Udensi and market association chairmen in the state.