By Dipo Olowookere
There was confusion at the popular Port Harcourt Mall in Rivers State on Wednesday as a result of an explosion, which left many shoppers running to safety.
However, what was initially feared, a terrorist attack, was not to be so. It was gathered that the explosion occurred as a result of a gas leakage in the kitchen area of the busy mall.
But some persons reportedly sustained serious injuries during the incident and were quickly taken to hospital for treatment.
Confirming this, Manager of the mall, Ms Chioma Okorie, said, “The fire incident happened in a kitchen of one of the shops in the mall, but was put out with the assistance of our fire fighting equipment and officials.”
Rivers State Police Command Public Relation Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, in a message to newsmen, said five persons sustained various degrees of burnt and were receiving medical attention at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH) in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
He said, “Investigation has been ordered by the Commissioner of Police with a view to ascertaining the cause of the incident.
“However, it is important to note that, preliminary Investigation conducted revealed that the explosion has no semblance of a terrorist attack nor attack of any kind from outside.”
Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Mr Tammy Danagogo, said the Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, has directed an on the spot assessment because of the importance of the facility.
He asked the management of the Port Harcourt Mall to meet with state government officials today, Thursday, June 13, 2019, at the State Secretariat to further discuss other aspects of the incident and possible areas of intervention of such incident in the future
Mr Danagogo expressed happiness that the management of the mall has been able to contain the fire, adding that those injured in the incident will receive adequate medical treatment.
He, however, assured that the Port Harcourt Mall will resume operations on Thursday as the minor fire incident at the facility has been contained.
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