Teeming on-campus female students of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) Port Harcourt are now displaced following a dawn fire which razed one of the female hostels at the institution.
The wild fire took out the entire Hostel A2 bungalow, displacing all of three official occupants and several squatters in over 30 rooms with most victims losing all belongings as the raging fire also forced out occupants of adjacent Hostel A1.
Wosa Chidiebere Prisca, a Foundation Education student among those displaced said, "A lot of us left early for 6.00am lectures this morning only to be told moments later that our hostel was on fire. It was too late before those in my situation got back."
Good Isiah, a 100 Level Computer Studies orphan student of Ogoni descent who lost all her property was inconsolable over the burning of her vital documents wondering who would come to her rescue to retrieve the valued papers.
In preliminary appraisal of the incident, South South Zonal Team Leader, Search and Rescue Unit of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Fortunatus Anyanwu said that the fire was set off when a camp cooking gas exploded on an occupant in an undisclosed room while lighting up the cooking appliance.
The NEMA official however explained that no casualty was recorded in the incident, but there were indications that the students who lit the gas cooker may have sustained some injuries.
Other affected students who spoke in anonymity stressed that the gas cooker exploded in Room 28 of the affected block and spread fast to raze the entire building, blaming the school management for not monitoring its prohibition of use of cooking gas on campus, while others bemoaned the school’s unpreparedness to respond with dispatch to have possibly saved the situation.
However, Public Relations Officer of the institution, Mr. Desmond Nwosu who described the incident as unfortunate put the number of those displaced at "About 100 and we are happy no life was lost and management is making necessary arrangement to reach out to those affected."