Causes of incessant fire explosions in residential homes – Engr. Owolabi Atinuke


The Chief  Executive Officer/Managing Director, Wurvicat International Limited  Engr (Mrs) Owolabi Atinuke in this interview with the Publisher Nigerian NewsDirect Dr Samuel Ibiyemi speaks on facts responsible for incessant fire explosion in several residential homes in the last one decade. Excerpts:

Why do you think we are having fire explosion in houses?

This is because most houses  built were not designed and monitored by qualified engineers. Most Nigerians particularly the illiterates prefer to employ artisans because of the cost. Also they think the artisans are good and have practical field experience. However, it is entirely different because of the way engineering is structured and designed. For instance, we have engineers, technologists, technicians and  artisans. They are supposed to work together. While engineer designs, technologist will look at it and know what to do when they get to the site. Then to start the project, the technicians will then apply it. The technicians  are not supposed to start the work, they are supposed to go through the drawings designed by the engineers. But most people do not want to do that  due to cost issues, they believe engineers will collect more money than  artisans  known for a long time. They also prefer artisans for the fact that they  have done one job for one company or another.  The artisan may  have done a job for their friend and so decided to  patronise the artisan. They don’t know that each project has its own standards. Engineers should be the first contact and first priority before engaging any artisan. Engineers are supposed to be engaged to look at the whole project for a developer, do calculation to determine the  load, size of load  needed and not just bring distribution box.  But engineer will check all equipment, cables, sockets  and not just bring distribution box and  panel.   For instance with 100 amps. How are you sure without calculation to know that 100 amps is needed in the house. So, it the engineer that will help to determine to be used among others so as to determine what the size of actual load needed. Engineers design those things,write them down then technologists will look at them and the technicians apply them under the supervision of engineers. However, you don’t just send technician to do that alone.

 What about the quality of cables to be used?

When you want to know the right cable to be used. there is tester that will check it to see whether it will actually meet up with the standard and to check the load. We have another tester we use to check if the cable is actually copper or aluminium or ordinary steel. So, those are the things we will check.

So, we have cable with aluminium?

Yes we have cable with aluminum we even have cable with fake but engineers will be able to know which one is appropriate. Some may even coat the cable, but engineers should be able to check.

So these are some of the reasons we are having fire outbreaks?

 Yes. Another reason for fire outbreaks is that most of  these technicians will just install breakers that are not meant for the load in the house. It  is when it is calculated that you can  know the actual load to have in the  house. It is then you can determine  the right equipment to use for right product to actually fit into the house. And most people  go to different markets to buy these products  either may be through referral. But do you actually patronise the company that is registered and well known in case you have problems or issues,  can you call on them? In our company, Wurvicat International Limited what we do is that  when we sell a new product, we don’t just sell any product but we monitor it to the site  where we do site performance.

 You mean sales support?

 We do  after-sales support to see how the equipment  is working at the site. There was a time one of our clients bought a lot of equipment known as Real Main Unit (RMU) from us for installation at the   sub-station. One thing  I do is that I always like to visit our client with our engineer.  We paid him a visit in Abuja and on getting to his site, I saw that the transformers bought were  2.5 MVA and 5.MVA. I also noticed that all the RMUs bought can only work for 500kv transformer. Then, I told him that our company is not to make profit but ours is to ensure that we have the right equipment for a project. This product you bought will not be used for these number of transformers unit you have on site. Do you know because of that he had to buy another set of rmus. He kept the RMUs  bought so as to use it for another project for 500kv transformer and since then if he needs anything today he will consult us. We put him through. We don’t just sell, we ask many questions. For instance we ask questions such as: “What’s the breaking capacity? What’s your total load in your house?  or we say so what you are asking for you can’t use it and say this is the one that is suitable for you to use”. That’s why it is always good to patronise an engineering firm. If we can do that it will help us in avoiding the hazards we have at home. Also, on maintenance too, it is important to try and   engage the engineers to be coming for routine check because sometimes vibration can cause it to have partial contact or loose contact and when you use it like that you don’t know when it will explode.


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