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Families wail as fire consumes 400 corpses in Anambra morgue

“The chemicals we used in preserving the corpses must have aggravated the fire.The chemicals are highly inflammable and they burn faster than fuel.”

A burning bush on Saturday consumed over 400 corpses in a fire incident at the mortuary section of the General Hospital, Onitsha,
Anambra State.

The fire, which was said to have emanated from a burning bush behind the morgue lasted about three hours and razed the mortuary building located behind the hospital facility.

The mortuary attendants were said to have called the state fire service after attempt to douse the flame with water mixed with detergent According to PUNCH, some families who had come to carry their corpses for burial, burst into tears when they saw that the mortuary was in ruins and burnt corpses littering the vicinity.

One of them, Charles Ozor, said, “We came to take the corpse of a community member for burial only for us to see that the corpses in the morgue had been burnt beyond recognition. We are confused; we don’t know what to do.”

An eyewitness, who did not want to be identified, recalled that someone had cleared the bush behind the morgue and set it on fire.

He said, “The bush is a bit far from the mortuary. But before we knew what was happening, we saw that the roof of the mortuary had caught fire.

There were over 400 corpses inside the building. The entire place was engulfed in fire. Before firefighters came, the fire had caused a lot of damage; most of the corpses were burnt to ashes and some beyond recognition.

“The firefighters battled to stop the fire from escalating to other buildings. In fact, the water in their tank finished; they had to go and refill elsewhere because the hospital does not have a water facility on its premises.”

An auxiliary worker, who did not mention her name, told PUNCH Metro that the morgue had been contracted to a private operator.

The operator of the morgue, who identified himself simply as Emma, said, “I had gone to Awka to bring some corpses. While I was there, I was informed about the fire on the phone and I rushed down immediately. Before l arrived here, the fire had done a lot of damage.

“The fire burnt both fresh and abandoned corpses packed inside the morgue.

“The chemicals we used in preserving the corpses must have aggravated the fire.The chemicals are highly inflammable and they burn faster than fuel.”

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