Panic broke yesterday evening at the Army Headquarters, Abuja, when fire outbreak was noticed at the new conference room of the chief of army staff (COAS), Lt. Gen Azubuike Ihejirika, at the Army Headquarters after most officers had closed for the day.
An eyewitness account said that the fire began from one of the air conditioners at the COAS’ conference room before it began spreading round the room.
A military source said, “We were inside our office when two officers ran to alert us of the fire outbreak from the COAS’ conference room. We ran out and I came back to order other people out.
“We alerted the Federal Fire Service, our neighbour, and they came with three of their fire-fighter vehicles and, together with our own, they put the fire out.”
The source disclosed that the incident took place between 6:15pm and 7:05pm but no life was lost and there was no valuable document burn.
“Another good news is that the fire outbreak did not happen at midnight; it happened while some of our senior officers were still around,” he stated.
When asked why the whole Army Headquarters was in darkness unlike other buildings, an army officer said, “We put it off because you never can tell the effect of the fire outbreak and, more importantly, we want to be sure the fire has been completely put off.”
Some senior officers were sighted discussing among themselves and rejoicing that there was no serious effect of the fire as it did not extend beyond the COAS’ new conference room. Among those sighted were Major General Bolaji Koleosho of the Civil-Military Relations and Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ofik, the director, naval intelligence.
A similar incident took place last year at the Defence Headquarters where a fire started at the restaurant which was put off shortly after it began.