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Explosion caused by fireworks destroys 10 buildings, injures many

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Another building torched

Another house destroyed by the explosion

IT was a dark Wednesday that would not be forgotten in a hurry by the Tony Eze family of Amokwe Udi Local Council of Enugu State.

It was a day that had begun with many positive expectations but had, however, ended with a devastating blow that would live with the family for years to come.

The high-calibre pyrotechnics popularly called fireworks, stocked in the residential warehouse for sale to members of the public this Easter, suddenly exploded, claiming several human and infrastructure casualties.

Sources put the loss encountered by the family from the explosion to several billions of naira.

The Guardian gathered that while members of the family who had gone out for the day’s assignment returned home, a loud sound exploded from one of the buildings housing the fireworks. The resulting inferno suddenly spread to the neighbouring compounds, destroying buildings and injuring people on site.

At least, 10 buildings, all one –storey buildings occupied by members of the family, were completely destroyed, while an unspecified number of persons including members of the family as well as others sustained various degrees of injuries.

The Guardian learnt that Mr. Eze, a dealer in fireworks for several years, usually stocks the imported products in his underground warehouse in one of the buildings in the compound.

It was further gathered that the products were usually brought into the expansive compound in trailers with several workers taking charge, adding that the explosion was a mystery as nobody could explain what led to it.

A statement from the Police in Enugu State said that the fireworks that erupted were brought into the residential buildings on March 15, 2015 by an undisclosed person.

Police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu said that the incident took place around 5 .00 pm on the fateful day leaving several persons wounded, adding that “ a loud explosion, which reportedly shattered buildings, caused panic in the village as the residents took to their heels suspecting that it could be bombs.”

The police spokesman said reports reaching the command indicated that, “there was a trailer load of the said high-calibre pyrotechnics (fireworks) brought into the house on March 15, 2015.”

Amaraizu added that the police had commenced full –scale investigations into the incident with a view to finding out the possible cause of the sudden explosion.

“Instant analysis of the incident by the operatives of the Explosive Ordinance Department on ground at the scene of the explosion revealed that it was occasioned by high calibre pyrotechnics (fireworks) in a large quantity packed in the house of the owner that exploded,” the police spokesman said.

Since the incident happened, reporters who had attempted to gain access into the massive village compound as well as occupants of the place were prevented from doing so by policemen, who were armed to their teeth.

Opportunity to ascertain the level of devastation caused to the family from the explosion, however, came on Friday when the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu visited the scene to sympathise with them.

It was a shocking site. All in Ekweremadu’s entourage clipped their hands in bewilderment as they were guarded into the compound by a member of the family who refused to disclose his name. Women, men wore long faces and workers were seen clearing the debris from the buildings while various pay loaders waited to be loaded.

Ekweremadu, who was astonished with the effect of the explosion, which spared no building in site, told the family that the worst-case scenario had been salvaged and was hopeful that theirs would not be an exception.

“I want to say clearly that this is not a bomb action, it is not a terrorist action, it is just an accident where our brother keeps fireworks and he is licensed to do so”

He said the visit was basically to sympathise with the family and join in thanking God that no life was lost, adding that God who had allowed it to happen would also provide necessary resources to rebuild the place.

“We will keep all of you in prayers that God will keep you alive and pray that all these places would be transformed again. So there is nothing God cannot do. This place, I believe, will be rebuilt. I have gone to Japan, I have gone to Hiroshima and I know the places have been rebuilt and I know this one will be rebuilt”, he said.

The family member thanked Ekweremadu for the visit on behalf of the Eze family, praying that God who allowed the devastation to happen would provide the means of getting them on their feet again.



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