A section of the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, Imo State, was yesterday razed by fire, forcing passengers to flee for safety.
The cause of the inferno, which lasted for over 30 minutes, was not immediately ascertained, but The Guardian learnt that the fire started around 2:00 p.m. at the arrival section of the airport, which was under renovation.
Though no life was lost, it took spirited efforts by men of the fire service and airport workers to put out the blaze.
The General Manager Corporate Affairs of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Henrietta Yakubu, said the fire was “curtailed swiftly” by officers of the Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Services Department of FAAN, aiding the restart of normal operations at the airport. Yakubu said the authority had commenced preliminary investigations into the cause of the incident.
Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha told reporters: “I have just heard that the Imo Airport is on fire. I don’t know the cause. I am going there now.”
Meanwhile, when contacted, the police spokesperson in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, said he was yet to be properly briefed on the incident.
Efforts to get the management of the airport to speak on the incident did not yield result. One of the senior members of staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however said the authority would issue an official statement soon.