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Fire outbreak in Lagos guts bank and close building

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The third floor of the 10-storey head office building of Unity Bank Plc on Victoria Island, Lagos, was on Monday engulfed in flames.

It was learnt that the fire, which raged between 6am and 7am, did not extend to other floors of the building as the personnel of the Lagos State Fire Service extinguished it on time.

An employee of the bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that he got to the office while the inferno was still raging

He added that some of the workers, especially the security guards, tried to extinguish the fire but their efforts did not yield any result as the inferno was rising in intensity.

According to him, the fire did not affect the banking hall, noting that everything on the first floor was intact.

He stated that the bank’s head office was not handling regular banking transactions, but administrative functions.

The source added that the smoke seen in viral footage did not mean that the fire spread to the other floors.

He added that the smoke emanating from the concentrated third floor needed different outlets to escape.

The employee said, “I saw the third floor on fire before I even stepped on the premises. Security personnel initially tried to save the situation, but when the fire continued to rage, they could only look.

It wrote, “We regret to inform the public that there was a fire incident on one of the floors of our head office building early this morning.

“The cause of the fire incident is yet to be ascertained but the fire service has intervened and has brought the situation under control.”

It indicated that there was no casualty.

The bank stated, “While the extent of damage is being assessed, we are happy to note that there was no casualty or loss of life as a result of the incident. From current observations, however, the banking hall and other strategic business areas were not affected.

“We are grateful to all the agencies and volunteers that supported in bringing the incident under control. Further developments regarding the incident will be communicated as they unfold.”

In a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Unity Bank said, “We wish to inform The Exchange, our esteemed stakeholders and the general public that there was a fire incident on one of the floors of our head office building early on Monday. The fire, which started from the third floor of the building occupied by a tenant, has been fully extinguished. Preliminary investigations show that the damage is localised to the floor.

“Consistent with our business continuity framework, critical staff members have been relocated to approved offsite locations and our operations are not in any way affected. Consequently, customers have unfettered access to their accounts through our electronic channels and branches.”

It was also gathered that there were two other fire incidents at a warehouse on Rufus Giwa Street by Adebayo Doherty Street, Lekki, and Baruwa in the Ipaja area of the state.

A fire officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said men of the state fire service were still battling to extinguish the inferno at Baruwa.

The Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Fire Service, Mrs Abiodun Ahmed, said firefighters were on the ground to extinguish the inferno at Baruwa.

Asked if there was any casualty, she said the true picture of things would emerge after those in the fields file in their reports.

The PRO advised Nigerians to be safety conscious, especially as the dry season would soon set in.

Ahmed urged residents to get fire extinguishers for their homes, adding that the fire extinguishers were not one-time purchased items as they needed to be serviced every six months.

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