Fire razes 42 shops at ATBU, Bauchi
Property worth millions of naira were burnt to ashes as fire razed 42 shops at the Students Centre at the Yelwa Campus of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, early Wednesday, leaving shop owners to count their losses.
The razed shops located on Block D at the Students Centre, included computer business centres, barbing salons and provision stores.
Though the cause of the fire was uncertain, many sympathisers were of the opinion that it might have been caused by electrical fault, informing that the incident started at about 2am.
They lamented that the fire could not be put out as the university’s fire service’s fire fighting truck was not in good shape.
A source informed that the institution’s fire fighters were alerted to the incident but they said their truck’s battery was faulty, a situation the fire fighters were reported to have said the university’s management knew of.
According to the source, who pleaded to remain anonymous, “I learnt that when the fire started, they alerted the university fire service but they said that the battery of the truck is faulty.
“They said they had reported to the management for a release of money for it to be fixed or for a new one to be bought but nothing was done.
“They said they kept writing to the management to release money for the purchase of a new battery but they allegedly said that there was no money.
“Rescuers also contacted the Federal Fire Service but they said that they did not have tyres in their truck, but I cannot verify how true that is. It is unfortunate that because of the ineffectiveness of the fire service this great damage happened.
“I believe that if there were firefighters, the fire would have been put out and these shops and properties would have been saved.”
A shop owner, Prince Hosea Mathias, said he got a call at about 4am informing him that his shop and those of others were on fire.
Mathias said he was informed that the fire was caused by an electrical fault, adding that all efforts to get the fire service to come proved abortive.
“By the time I got there later in the morning, I discovered that all the shops were burnt down.
“I run a computer business centre and IT solution. I lost everything I have in my shop: computers, printers, furniture, generator, stationeries, POS machines and a lot of things.
“I graduated in 2016 from the Civil Engineering Department (of the university) but since I didn’t get any work to do, I decided to start this business, although I have been doing this while I was in school in the hostel. So, when I graduated, I expanded the business so I can use it to support myself and people around me,” he said.
Another victim, Alfred Joseph, who also owns a computer business centre, said nothing was saved from his shop.
“I am not currently in Bauchi, I traveled to Abuja and a friend called me this morning to inform me of the incident. He told me that everything in my shop has been burnt down.
“All my property, including photocopiers, computers, laptop, printers, stationeries, my generator and everything I have in that shop was all destroyed. It is so unfortunate,” he told journalists on the telephone.
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