Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 25 January 2016 | 4,015 times
Pacesetter FM, the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Frequency Modulated radio station in Umuahia, Abia State capital, was Sunday evening razed down by a mystery fire.
Members of staff of the radio station located in Amakama Umuahia said they saw smoke spirallling out from the ceiling of the building at about 5pm and raised the alarm to alert those inside that danger was lurking.
It was gathered that before the Announcer on duty who was inside the studio could find her way out, the whole building was already engulfed by the fire as smoke filled everywhere but she was able to escape through the toilet window.
Offices gutted by the fire include the Programmes, Newsroom, Accounts and Administration. Sources said some transmission equipment and some items from the office of the General Manager were saved but the entire building was wrecked by the fire as its walls were peeling off and several sections cracked as at the time News Express visited this morning.
It was gathered that men of the Fire Service were at the station to put out the fire but left after finishing the water in their tank. Shortly after, the fire started again, forcing the staff present to embark on putting it out with the help of a ladder. It was their efforts that helped in saving the transmission equipment.
No one is willing to comment on the incident as the embattled management and staff of the station were still awaiting the arrival of the Director-General of FRCN from Abuja.
Chairman of Abia State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade John Emejor, who raced to the station on a sympathy visit, called on the Federal and Abia State Governments, the management of FRCN and good-spirited corporate organisations and individuals to urgently assist in rebuilding the station and return it on air.
Emejor, who lamented that the incident would adversely affect journalists and other staff of Pacesetter FM, noted that the station constituted a critical arm of information management in Abia State.
He said that without the station, information dissemination and management would not be complete in Abia, assuring that that Council would be willing to play any role deemed necessary to ensure that the station was rebuilt as quickly as possible. He expressed gratitude to God that no life was lost in the incident.
A shocked General Manager of Pacesetter FM, Mr Fidelis Onoh, who received the team, only thanked the visitors and was unable to utter any other word.
The Abia Council Chairman was accompanied on the visit by the National Trustee, Zone C, Ezeogo Boniface Okoro, and the Council Secretary, Comrade Uche Arungwa.
Meanwhile, the Abia State Government has promised that it would do its best to assist in rebuilding the station.
The Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, made the promise through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Godwin Adindu, when he visited the station to see things for himself. He said it was regrettable that the radio station went up in flames.
Pacesetter FM, Umuahia, was officially commissioned on April 16, 2007 by the then Minister of Information and Communication, Frank Nweke Jnr.
•Photo by Boniface Okoro shows the charred remains of Pacesetter FM, Umuahia.
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