The Uyo depot of the Nigerian Bottling Company, makers of Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite was on Wednesday engulfed in flames with goods worth millions of naira at risk of being lost.
An eye witness, Mr. Charles Ekong, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the fire started from where the pallets are kept and soon spread to the entire packaging area.
Ekong said it was the quick intervention of firefighters from the State Fire Service that prevented the fire from spreading to the office complex.
“The fire started from where the pallets are packed and the fire service was quickly alerted to control the spread to other buildings.
“In fact, it was so serious; if not for the quick intervention of the firefighters it would have consumed the entire depot.
“Five trucks of firefighting vehicles were brought to put out the fire,” Mr. Ekong said.
According to the Fire Chief in Akwa Ibom, Ndarake Ukpe, he had to mobilize firemen from surrounding towns in Ikot Ekpene, Abak and Akpan Andem to put out the fire.
The fire chief said the cause of the fire was yet to be determined. He appealed to residents to be careful in handling inflammable materials during this harmattan season.
Ukpe also confirmed that no life was lost as a result of the fire as the place was under the care of security personnel.
“Fire does not just happen; it is caused by carelessness and fake electrical installations in our buildings.
“We have organised seminars for people in the markets and advised them to stop storing fuel in their houses.
“We are committed to ensuring that our department response to fire calls are within record time so that minimal lost is recorded,”Ukpe said.
The Depot Manager for Nigerian Bottling Company in Uyo, Mr. Benjamin Uche, said he had yet to quantify the value of what was lost to the fire.
“I will talk to you when I get clearance from my head office,” he said.