Bride-to-be, 3 others die in Ebonyi New Year fire incident

From Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki

At least four more victims of  the fire incident which occurred on New Year day in Akaeze, Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State have been confirmed dead.

Sunday Sun gathered that one of the victims was a lady who was gearing up for her wedding coming up next weekend.

However, there were conflicting figures on Saturday evening on the total number of deaths so far recorded.

While a government official said four of the victims admitted in the hospital had died, a source in the community disagreed, insisting that the casualty figure was higher than that.

The source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said at least six persons had died while the remaining were in critical condition.

The source added that one of the people who died was a lady whose wedding was coming up in a few days’ time.

But the coordinator of Akaeze Development Centre,  Simbad Ogbuatu, said he was only aware of four more additional deaths.

“Yes, I heard that four of those rushed to the hospital have died,” he said.

The fire outbreak which occurred in Iyioji community in Akaeze, Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on New Year day left a three-year-old baby dead, with many others sustaining various degrees of burns.

The fire incident which occurred around 8:a.m on Friday, January 1, 2020, at the home of one Mr. Ogenyi Chukwu, was allegedly caused when a canon loaded with gun powder and left in the house had contact with fire.

Chukwu who narrated the incident to newsmen said their children and 11 other relatives were watching television in the house when suddenly fire engulfed the entire house leading to pandemonium.

“The fire incident was triggered when a locally-made gun powder metal known as ‘Nkpolali’ placed close to the room where the children were watching television suddenly sparked-off fire.

“The fire before been noticed had already taken over the entire room and the doors and windows of the room were locked.

“I kept the item in my house hoping to use it to celebrate the New Year having survived the COVID-19 pandemic and the ENDSARS protest,” Chukwu said.

The spokesman of the police in the state, Loveth Odah, could not be reached for comment as of the time of filing this report.

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