THE Rivers State Government said on Thursday that no fewer than 230 persons lost their lives in 222 fire incidents in the state in 2012.
The government also said 73 persons suffered different degrees of injuries from last year’s fire outbreaks within the state.
A senior principal officer in the State Fire Service, Mr. Golden Elenga, who made this remark during a stakeholders’ workshop on fire emergency in Port Harcourt, recalled that the petrol tanker fire in Okogbe, Ahoada West Local Government Area, claimed about 200 lives.
Elenga added that the state recorded loss of lives in other fire incidents, even as he blamed most of the fire outbreaks on electrical faults.
He explained that within the year under review, the state fire service received 304 emergency calls while 82 of such calls were discovered to be false.
He said, “In January, 2012, 60 fire calls were received, 17 were false calls while the actual number of fire incidents was 43. In February, the same year, we received 29 calls, 11 were false while 18 calls were real.’’
Earlier, the South-South Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, organisers of the workshop, Mr. Emenike Umesi, stated that the event was aimed at examining fire management operations in 2012.
Umesi pointed out that the workshop was also necessary in order to proffer solutions for better synergy and more efficient operation in 2013.
He noted that fire incidents and other forms of disasters could have serious implications for national development and socio-economic well-being of the people.
“There is no doubt that repeated exposure to disasters leads to chronic poverty and makes the people even more vulnerable,” he said.