Fire on Wednesday night gutted the depot of the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), manufacturers of Coca-Cola, on Abak Road, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Eyewitnesses told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that goods worth millions of Naira were lost.
One of the eyewitnesses, Mr. Charles Ekong, said the fire started from where the pallets were packed and engulfed the packing zone.
He said firefighters’ intervention prevented the inferno from spreading to the office complex.
“The fire started from where the pallets are packed and the fire service officials were alerted to control its spread to other buildings.
“In fact, it was so serious. But for the firefighters’ intervention, the inferno would have destroyed the depot.
“Five firefighting vehicles were brought to put out the fire,” Ekong said.
Chief Fire Officer Mr. Ndarake Ukpe told NAN that he mobilised firemen from Ikot Ekpene, Abak and Akpan Andem to extinguish the fire.
He said its cause was unknown and appealed to residents to be careful in handling inflammable materials during the harmattan.
Ukpe said nobody died, as the place was cordoned off by security personnel.
“Fire does not just happen. It is caused by carelessness and fake electrical installation.
“We have organised seminars for people in the markets and advised them to stop storing petrol in their homes.
“We will ensure our department responds to fire calls in time, to avoid loss of life and property,” he said.
The chief fire officer urged the public to report fire outbreaks promptly, instead of waiting until the damage was done.
The Uyo depot manager, Mr. Benjamin Uche, told NAN that the cause of the fire was unknown.
He said he was yet to quantify what the company lost.
“I have to take stock to know what we have lost,” Uche said.
On Christmas Day, the home of Works Commissioner Mr. Ephraim Inyang-eyen was gutted by fire.