The Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji has commissioned four fire-fighting trucks donated to the Abia State Fire Service by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. Speaking at the ceremony in the premises of the Michael Okpara Auditorium on Tuesday, the governor remarked that the two fire engines and two water tankers could not have come at a better time. This is against the background of the recent fire incident at the Federal Government College, Umuahia, where a hostel housing 119 students was gutted by fire last Sunday.
According to the governor, "the sophisticated fire-fighting trucks from the NDDC have strengthened the fire service to tackle fire outbreaks in any part of the state. It is a blessing that has come to us from the NDDC and we thank them for it."
Governor Orji charged men of the state fire service to take advantage of the new equipment to improve their response time to distress calls regarding fire outbreaks, adding that they were now better positioned to function optimally.
He, however, noted that the sophisticated equipment called for proper training and handling by the fire officers. He urged the fire service to collaborate with the NDDC in getting appropriate training for those who would handle the trucks.
In his own remarks, the representative of Abia State on the board of the NDDC, Chief Sam Nwogu, noted that the fire-fighting equipment was the commission's contribution to the combined efforts to check the destructions that often come with fire outbreaks. "The fire trucks will help in fighting fire in any part of the state, thereby helping to protect lives and property. The donation was made in response to the need for more fire-fighting equipment in the state fire service. We believe that the new trucks will enhance the effectiveness of the fire officers and improve their response time to fire emergencies," he said.
The Controller of Abia State Fire Service, Mr Victor Gbaruko, said that the new fire trucks would go a long way in helping the fire service to contain the ever increasing incidents of fire disasters in the state. He noted that in the last four months, 90 fire incidents, including three in schools, were recorded in the state.
Mr Gbaruko appealed to the NDDC to assist in the training of the staff to enable them master the automated function of the trucks. "We need to be properly trained to be able to get the best out of these very modern fire trucks," he emphasized.
It could be recalled that the NDDC had purchased 40 fire-fighting trucks to combat fire outbreaks in the nine Niger Delta states. The trucks comprised water tankers of 30, 000-litre capacity, and Turn-Table fire trucks with a combination of water, dry chemicals, and carbon dioxide extinguishers.