By Florence Onuegbu and Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma/Lagos
For over three hours, fire disrupted banking services at the head office of Ecobank Nigeria Ltd. on Ahmadu Bello Way, Lagos, on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents who visited the scene of the fire incident reported that the fire started at 8.30am.
A witness, Mr Malachy Okoli told NAN, that the fire started when a tanker was discharging diesel into the bank’s fuel dump.
Okoli told NAN that staffers of some commercial banks around EcoBank used their fire extinguishers to contain the fire before the arrival of officials the Federal Fire Service.
NAN reports that some youths were seeing around the place scooping diesel from the gutter not minding the risk and a lot of kiosks around the bank were destroyed by the inferno.
Ganiyu Olayiwola, Deputy Commanding Officer, Lagos Command, Federal Fire Service, said the bank alerted the command at about 8.55am.
“We quickly alerted our people and we were able to contain the fire, the first thing we did was to evacuate all the personnel and secured the area so that we would be able to perform our work effectively,” Olayiwola said.
Mr Femi Giwa, Director of Operations, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), said the agency was alerted at about 8.55am.
“At about 8.55 am, we got a distress call at the Lagos State command and control centre concerning an inferno within the Ecobank head office.
“We activated our response and mobilised our respondents to the scene of the incident,” Giwa said.
He said officials of the agency discovered a tanker with 33,000 litres diesel, while trans-loading caught fire.
“We need to appreciate the Lagos State Fire Service, the Federal Fire Service and LASEMA Response Unit, the Ecobank Fire unit, UBA fire unit, Julius Berger and others for their efforts”, said Giwa.
“We were able to contain the inferno within the generator area where they have the tank and the building, as I speak to you is in good condition and the adjourning buildings were not affected.
“Personnel and occupants within the building were evacuated within the muster point. We recorded no injury, no death and I speak to you we were at the dampening stage,” Giwa said.
Mr Tunde Dawodu, representative of Ecobank, said the fire started at about 8.40 am, when a tanker that came to supply diesel apparently caught fire.
“Immediately we activated the emergency protocol and all staff were evacuated from the building even though it did not affect the main building.
“We decided to fight it with fire gadgets that we had and we reached to the fire departments, the state, the federal, LASEMA and some other corporate organisations.
“As you can see it is just the tanker and one of our generators that were affected, it did not affect the building, the personnel or our operations,” Dawodu said.