By Emma Ujah & Omeiza Ajayi
There was fire at the Federal Ministry of Finance in the early hours of Wednesday, with eyewitness saying it was caused by the explosion of expired inverter batteries at the basement of the ministry’s building.
However, it was learned that there was no casualty or major damage to the building as security officers in the premises promptly put out the fire.
An official of the ministry described it as “a minor fire incident.”
Eyewitnesses said fire extinguishers strategically located in the premises were used to successfully fight the fire, even before the arrival of the Fire Service men.
Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, YunusaAbdullahi, 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.
FFS assures of safety
Meanwhile, the Federal Fire Service, FFS, has said there was no cause for alarm regarding the incident which it said was immediately brought under control.
Public Relations Officer of the service, Paul Abraham, 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 ground to ensure the situation was put under control.
“We got the call at 7am 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, Controller General of the Federal Fire Service CGF, Dr. Karebo Pere Samson, 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.
‘’Owing to the importance of the Ministry of Finance to national security, the Controller-General directed the Assistant Controller General in charge of Federal Operations to coordinate the operations.
“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 fire extinguisher to bring the situation under control. Fire fighters carried out 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 queue from the Ministry by equipping their homes and offices with fire fighting equipment.
“Investigation has commenced to ascertain the actual cause of the fire,” the statement added