THE House on the Rock, The Refuge, Citadel and Towers at the City Gate, Abuja, were on Sunday, engulfed by fire. However, no life was lost and no injury was recorded.
It took fire fighters from Federal Fire Service, Abuja Command; National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), Julius Berger, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Julius Berger, Nigeria Police and other stakeholders over three hours before they were able to put it off.
The unfortunate incident, which was said to have happened around 2pm, was put off by the team around 5:17 pm. The building was said to be under routine renovation, while services were holding in the second auditorium within the same premises.
Speaking with newsmen, the Director of Search and Rescue, NEMA, Air Commodore Sunny Paul Ohemu, said the authority got the alert around 2pm and they mobilised to the scene of the incident forthwith.
According to him, “We got the alert by 2:00 pm and we immediately mobilized with stakeholders. We are here with FCT Fire Service. We called Julius Berger, NNPC, National Judicial Institute and all the stakeholders where we can get resources and you can see that we are able to put the resources together.
“We were able to contain the fire, we can’t vouch for the integrity of the building because of the incident, and we have asked that the place should be cordoned and it has been cordoned. We have told the management of the church that nobody should go inside the auditorium,” he stated.
Also speaking, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Wuye, Mrs Serlomia Jimbes, the church had already closed before the incident happened.
“When we got the information, we came around and saw people running helter-skelter. It was suspected to be an electrical fault but no life was lost. We are on top of the matter. The fire services arrived on time, the police, NEMA and other sister forces came on time, if not a lot of things would have happened,” she added.
The Commanding Officer, Federal Fire Service, Abuja Command, Aderemi Olusola, said: “We responded immediately they called us and brought five trucks.”
The church pastor, Pastor Helbet Abebe, said: “I got the call about 2:10pm, I just left the building. Before I got home, I got a call that there was a fire in the building and I came back and saw it, there was nobody in the building.
“We are not actually meeting in that section of the building because we are doing some routine maintenance, so we can’t speculate at this time. We have to carry out investigation to know exactly what caused the fire,” he said.