Friday, August 24, 2018 11:14 pm
Properties worth millions of naira were Thursday night destroyed in a fire that razed the official residence of the immediate past Chief Medical Director of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Prof Michael Ibadin.
According to sources, the inferno which began sometime after 7 pm, left a significant part of the building, located at the Senior Staff quarters of Ugbowo Campus of the University of Benin.
It was gathered that efforts by men of the various fire service, including the UNIBEN fire service, fell short of salvaging the situation, leaving the entire top floor of the duplex razed, destroying all vital documents, including certificates and other valuables of the former CMD.
Fire fighters from the military base in Benin finally came to the rescue and restricted the fire to the top floor of the duplex.
Ibadin who said he did not know the cause of the fire, noted that the fire would have been easily curtailed with only after 5 minutes of good fire fighting, but that the UNIBEN fire service said they had exhausted the water in their vehicle, while the fire was still raging.
When journalisits visited the scene of the incident, relics of the destruction were visible and the Professor of Paediatrics who said he returned home from a trip a few minutes before the fire outbreak, was seen trying to salvage what was left.
“I just returned home at about 7pm, and there was blackout,and directed that the generating set be put on.
“Some minutes after the generator was switched on, I saw smoke coming from one of the rooms. I immediately switched off the generator and took out my fire extinguisher to combat the fire, with the help of neighbours and some security men in my house.
“I also immediately contacted the fire service station in the University campus which is the closest to my house, and that of UBTH. But their efforts were not good enough. I was not impressed at all with their poor response to emergency.
“It was the military fire fighters that came at the last minute that actually put out the fire after UNIBEN and UBTH fire service station were helpless.
“The response of fire service in UNIBEN and UBTH was tardy. Again, maybe it is an eye-opener to the University. UNIBEN fire service was the first I contacted because they are closest to my house.
“While they were battling to stop the fire, I called for UBTH fire fighters just incase they are overwhelmed. I think some good neighbours also called the Edo State Fire Service and the Army Fire Service to come to my rescue, but nothing much was done,” Ibadin lamented.
He further explained: “I lost everything I ever worked for in life, including my certificates, and other vital documents and my clothes. I couldn’t remove anything from my rooms, not even my telephone set. Every thing was completely burnt down. My entire three bedrooms was not spared in the fire outbreak, but I thank God no life was lost.
“Am aware my wife lost close to N2 million cash in the fire that engulfed her bedroom in the house. I didn’t have much cash in my room. The best I would have in my room is maybe N10,000. The damage is mainly my documents, books and clothes.”
The former CMD who said to rebuild the burnt building would cost not less than N10 million, called on kind hearted Nigerians and corporate bodies to assidt in contributing to reconstruct his burnt official residence.