A House wife and a student of Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH) have been reported dead after being electrocuted at their resident in Cross River State.
The incident occurred on Monday at about 7.30pm during a slight windstorm at no 14 Adak Uko street in Calabar South local government of the state.
An eyewitness who declined giving his name told DAILY POST on Tuesday that electricity high tension wire violently sparked and fell upon the zinc of a containerized shop at No. 14 Adak Uko Street by the popular Mbukpa market in Calabar South LGA of Cross River State.
“A woman who is the owner of the shop, whose name was not immediately known tried to escape from her burning shop, but incidentally touched an erected iron holding Television antenna and was shocked and she died instantly.
“Another victim, about 18 years old and a student of the department of architecture in the Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH) also ran behind the woman and his body touched the electrocuted woman and died on the spot.
The husband of the woman who had just returned from work, tried to save his electrocuted wife was also electrocuted but he revived and survived. Bungalows of 19 rooms as well as a drug store were razed completely but the patent medicine store owner and tenants, including the landlord escaped unhurt while their properties were burnt.
A team of policemen, led by the DPO of Mbukpa area, Peter Gomba immediately cordoned off the entire neighbourhood to avert multiple casualties and miscreants taking advantage. He called the Cross River State Fire Service continually but was told that they had no water and fuel to move to the place of the incident. DPO Gomba other kind hearted Nigerians called the Atu area office of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company in Calabar to switch off power to no avail until it was too late. The DPO confirmed the incident and described it as unfortunate.
Another eye witness, a man who lived in one of the burnt houses and who also witnessed the incident; Mr. Itorobong Akpan said houses, including a block of twenty rooms, went up in flames during the incident. “This spark has happened five times when the high tension snapped this year and this is between last month and this month.
“Yesterday, at about 8:00pm, we heard some sounds and suddenly, the cable fell off and landed on our roof. The cable is a high tension and there was a huge vibration and this lit up the whole compound. The zinc, protectors, fans, was all reddish and power was still on.”
“We called the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) severally and there was no answer. We called the State Fire service and there was no answer until even the Divisional Police Officer for Mbukpa went to the Fire Service and persuaded them to come and they were told that government has not given them money to repair the vehicles. They contacted the Federal Airport Fire Service for solace and were told that they are not coming. All these happened for over forty minutes and the power supply was still on. So that’s what happened.”
On how the casualties were recorded he said; “Most occupants of the building were around when this inferno occurred but the young boy who died ran out of his apartment and touched an antenna pole and got electrocuted; while the lady who died owns a steel provisions store in the compound.
“She touched the steel housing her provision store and also got electrocuted. During the electrocution, I told those who were inside their apartments to remain inside and they heeded my advice and so that’s why a number of lives have been saved. It could have been worse. I was also inside my shop until the electrocution ceased,” he said.
Itorobong Akpan who is the patent medicine dealer said even though he lost more than N1 Million worth of drugs, he was more worried over the death of the woman and son.
Landlord of the compound, Mr Richard Asuquo said he had drawn attention of the electricity firm several times to come and fix the high tension properly since it had fallen five times earlier. He put the financial worth of his house and other properties destroyed by the fire at N10 Million.
Appealing for government’s assistance, he said he had warned the woman against installing the containerized shop under the wire following government warnings. This is the second time this year that a faulty power cable will electrocute people in Calabar. Earlier this year at Nyakasang, a high tension cable electrocuted over ten soccer viewers and no one has been held to account for the unfortunate incident.