Hotelier, others rue losses as fire destroys hotel in Aba
By Yolamchi Ukaga, Umuahia
Chief Chinedu Ezinwa, an Aba based hotelier and other business owners in Tourists Inn Hotel, Aba, are currently ruing their losses, following a fire incident that razed down the 25-rooms hotel facility on Sunday, June 30, 2019.
Tourist Inn hotel is located at 219 School road, close to Enyimba International Football Club Stadium.
Eye witness account has it that the fire started from room 13 and later spread to the entire facility.
Mr. Prince Anyanwu, the hotel manager, explained that the fire started at about 5.00pm and destroyed property worth over N20 million. He stated that officials of the Abia State Fire Service arrived late at the scene, which resulted to the heavy loss.
He however commended the bravery of residents and passersby that prevented the raging fire from spreading to adjoining buildings. “When the fire started, we called in the fire service, but by the time they came, half of facility was gone. No life was lost, but we didn’t pick out a pin.
“The 25 rooms and boys’ quarters, a boutique, hairdressing saloon and a mother care shop are now in ruins. We noticed fire from room 13 and we don’t know the cause of the fire up till now. This hotel has been here since 2007”, he stated.
Chief Chinedu Ezinwa, the owner of the hotel lamented that the fire incident ruined him, as that is his only business. “This situation has finished me. The only thing left for me now is my life. As I speak with you, I’m a nobody. I’m finished. This is the only business I have and it’s gone. This property alone is worth over N20 million.
“The fires service officials came when the whole place is almost razed down. They gave many excuses. Firstly, they said they had no gas, secondly they said the driver was not around and when he was called, he said he went to eat.
“And even when they managed to fix their vehicle, they arrived here and did small thing and said their water was finished. They left and came back by 7.00pm. It took the efforts of Aba people to prevent the fire from spreading to other buildings”.
Ezinwa pleaded with government to always equip agencies, like the fire service, to provide quality service to the people.
“They’re very important. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to another person. All their tools and workers need to be ready at all times. Had this happened in the night, lives would have been lost. I plead with government to equip the fire service so that they can tackle such situations. The workers are there, but there are no tools”, he observed.
Meanwhile, the Aba Zonal Commander of the Abia State Fire Service, Mr. Uche Okezie, contrary to the earlier statement said his men tried their best to put off the fire. He explained that they got information about the fire at about 6:05pm, while they arrived at the scene by 6:10pm and did all they could to bring the situation under control.