Properties worth millions of naira were Friday evening destroyed when an inferno gutted some shops in the university town of Amassoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The inferno, it was learned started from refuse allegedly set on fire by an unknown person close to one of the shops located in front of the main gate of the Niger Delta University (NDU) quickly spread to others along the road.
Mostly affected are business centres handling thé typing of students séminar papers, project work, photocopying as well as boutiques. According to eyewitnesses, residents who thronged the scene were overwhelmed by the raging fire aided by the harmattan wind. The university community which is one of the biggest in the state, it was learned had no fire service station. “The closest fire fighting bay is situated at the state government-owned International Airport which is quite some distance away from Amassoma town.
“Moreover, the facility has not been commissioned and as such, it is not possible to get the fire fighting truck deployed to Amassoma to help in battling the inferno,” said John Adowei, a resident of Amassoma. A staff of the university who spoke anonymously said, “what happened there is a big loss not only to the shop owners but also students of the university many of whose seminar papers and other academic work are being handled by some the affectéd shop owners. “This has again brought to the fore the need for the university to have a fire bay and I am using this médium to appeal to the state government to come to our aïd by establishing a fire service station in our community with à view to averting this type of loss. “Imagine thé number of electronics and other valuables that were destroyed”.