An early morning fire at a beer parlour in Nnewi, Anambra State, on Friday killed three female workers who were sleeping in the building.
The incident happened at Ezekwuabo Otolo Nnewi, close to St. Thomas Anglican Church (Akwudo).
The fire started at the place, called Padded Joint, around 3:00 a.m.
The source of the fire was yet to be ascertained at the time of this report.
A resident of the area, who asked not to be named, said that the owner of the motel is a woman fondly called ‘Obodo Umu Anumanu.’
The source said the owner closed the beer parlour where the three girls slept before leaving for her house the night before the fire outbreak.
The source said it is a normal occurrence for the owner to close the building and go home with the keys even if some of her staff slept over.
“The three girls could not escape because the rooms were locked and there was no way for them to exit as at that time,” the source said.
The corpses of the deceased have been deposited at the Nnewi Diocesan Hospital (Akwudo) by the police.
The police commissioner in the state, John Abang, confirmed the incident.
“It’s a drinking joint and the waiters who do sleep over in the joint lost their lives. Very unfortunate”, he said.
Mr Abang said the owner of the joint has been arrested and has made useful statement to the police.
This is the third fire incident in 48 hours in Anambra State.
At least three persons died on Wednesday in a fire incident in Onitsha when a petrol tanker fell at Iweka road and caught fire which spread to nearby buildings and shops at Ochanja Market.
Among the dead were a mother and her daughter while the third victim was a trader at the popular Ochanja Market.
The second fire, which occurred on the Enugu-Onitsha highway on Friday morning, also involved a petrol tanker. But luckily, no lives were lost.
The fire, however, destroyed many cars parked on the road near the scene of the incident.
Anambra Govt procures 10 fire engines
Meanwhile, the Anambra State Government has moved to equip the state fire service by procuring 10 new fire engines from Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Ltd.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Communications, Ikenna Aniagboso, said the governor has also ordered the recruitment of 120 personnel for the state fire service.
The move followed criticisms that trailed Wednesday’s fire incident.
The state government was criticised by residents for its slow response to the petrol tanker fire.
Mr Aniagboso, in the statement, said the state government has also mapped out four plots of land at Umuokpu, Awka for the establishment of a federal fire station immediately.
“Government has also concluded arrangements for periodic training of the firemen to adequately prepare them for emergencies.
“The government of Anambra state remains committed to the safety and security of Ndi Anambra,” he said.