The Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja was on fire in the early hours of Wednesday. Eyewitnesses said it was caused by the explosion of expired inverter batteries in the basement of the building.
Although, an official of the ministry described it as “a minor fire incident.” There was no casualty or major damage to the building as security officers on the premises quickly put out the fire.
Eyewitnesses said even before the arrival of the Fire Services, they were able to put out the fire. As there were available fire extinguishers strategically located in the premises.
Yunusa Abdullahi, the Special Adviser, Media, and Communications to the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, in a brief statement, said only a corrode in the basement was affected.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance Headquarters is not on fire as reported on the social media. Rather there was an incident on the corridor in the basement involving an isolated battery pack and it was quickly put out by the security personnel on duty,” he stated.
Federal Fire Service (FFS) assures safety
Meanwhile, the FFS has said there was no cause for alarm as the fire was immediately brought under control.
Paul Abraham, the Public Relations Officer of the service, told Vanguard that the incident did not affect the business of the day.
He said: “No cause for alarm, there was a spark at the inverter room at the basement”. The Acting CGF deployed the head of Federal Operations, Momoh Ibramo, who was on the ground to ensure the situation was put under control.
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“We got the call at 7 am and immediately turned out our men from three stations at Garki, Federal Secretariat, and Wuse. The situation is totally under control and did not disturb the business of the day.”
In an updated statement, Dr. Karebo Pere Samson, the Controller General of the Federal Fire Service (CGF), urged residents of the city not to panic. Assuring that the fire had been brought under control, the CGF said: “The Control room of Federal Fire Service on Wednesday received a fire call at about 7:00 hours concerning a fire outbreak at the Headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Finance, three fire stations of the Service within the Federal Capital Territory, namely Garki, Wuse, and Secretariat Stations, were immediately deployed to the scene.
The Controller-General directed the Assistant Controller General in charge of Federal Operations to coordinate the operations considering the importance of the Ministry of Finance to national security.
“Men on of the Federal Fire Service who arrived the scene at about two minutes after they received the call, discovered that some staff of the Ministry had used a fire extinguisher to bring the situation under control. Firefighters carried out an on-the-spot assessment to ensure a no case of re-ignition before leaving the scene.”
The CGF, who commended the Ministry of Finance for ensuring that the office had fire protection equipment in place, called on Nigerians to take a cue from the Ministry by equipping their homes and offices with firefighting equipment.
“Investigation has commenced ascertaining the actual cause of the fire,” the statement added.