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UNICAL vows to probe fire outbreak

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The Management of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) has reacted to the fire incident that razed one of the institution’s buildings on Thursday night.

The incident, which occurred around 8:45 pm, burnt down the storehouse of the Students’ Affairs Division, destroying office equipment, including ACs, computers, and students’ files.

Speaking during a visit to the fire scene, the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Florence Obi, noted that though the cause of the fire outbreak is unknown, an investigation team would be engaged to unravel it.

While lamenting the failure of the Federal Fire Service and the Cross River State Fire Service to come to their aid, the students of the institution had put out 85 per cent of the fire before the arrival of the firemen from the Export Processing Zone.

She said, “It is too early to talk about the cause of the fire incident. You can see that the fire is still on, and we have not been able to save the whole place.

“We are not looking at the cause now, but we are making sure that the remaining building and part of the building are safe. Eventually, professionals and experts will be invited to help in the investigation to determine the cause of the fire outbreak.

“It happened at night; people don’t live here. This is not a residential building. This is a central store. This section of the store is the furniture, computer, and other items section. It is a section that is mostly affected where we have our ACs, computers, mattresses, and a lot of other things that are affected. People are not here; everybody has closed and gone home”.

When asked if the fire service showed up, she said, “I would rather choose to talk about my students who saved the day. They are the heroes of this incident. Then talk about the fire service.

“The students of the University of Calabar saved the day. Despite the inferno, they came in and took risks. They went into the fire; they were using sticks and stones, and they were using everything available to them. They were rushing to fetch water in the hostels with soap just to see that they had saved their university. The students are my heroes.

“Now the issue of fire service is something we don’t have in the state. I went to the state fire service, and the trucks were down. I went to the federal fire service, and they told me their trucks were down. I went to NPA, and they said they were discharging, and according to their laws, anytime they were discharging, they would not be able to move their trucks in case they had any incidents”.

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