It was a sorrowful scene at Lugbe, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory on Monday as fire gutted a residential building rendering inhabitants homeless and property-less.
The fire which started at about 2:30pm was still smothering as at press time even as officials of the Federal Fire Service, Nigeria Police Force, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Lugbe Office were all on ground to combat the inferno.
It was gathered that the building located at Zone 6, Lugbe is owned by an elderly couple who live in the compound with their tenants.
However, as at the time of the fire outbreak, none of the residents were around as all had gone to their places of work.
Neighbours and friends in fact, the whole community gathered when the fire was noticed. Everyone worked together in unity to salvage the situation without minding religion, ethnicity or tribe.
Unfortunately, not much could be remedied as the building was completely razed down and residents are now counting their losses. Fortunately, no live was lost.
We gathered from sympathisers at the scene that the Zone 6 Chairman called in the Fire Service officers as well as other officers to help tackle the fire.
Owners of the building as well as their tenants who returned to an unrecognisable home after they were notified by friends and neighbours were too distraught to speak to us.
The Chairman of the Zone as well as other officials also declined speaking to us stating that they do not want any publicity. One even said fire has no friend and if rats could besiege Presidential Villa then it could happen to anybody and so we shouldn’t give it undue publicity.
Eye witness accounts however said no one can categorically state the cause of the fire but added that it started from one of the rooms then spread to others while a gas cylinder in one of the rooms added fuel to it when it busted.
It was also gathered that the harmattan currently being experienced contributed to the severity of the fire.
While some were embittered by the delay response from the Fire Service men who came from Town, others argued that the Fire men responded promptly but the despicable state of the road in the area hampered their early arrival adding that the time it took them to get to Lugbe from Town though a longer distance was nothing compared to the time it took them to navigate the roads to the scene.
Sadly, even as many rushed to the scene to genuinely help, a few miscreants also converged to have a field day making away with properties from nearby houses carried out for fear of the fire engulfing their homes.
We sympathise with the affected residents and urge one and all to be very careful and circumspect especially at this period when the harmattan has set in.
We also use this opportunity to call on Government and the FCT Administration to extend basic infrastructures especially good roads to areas like Lugbe and other satellite communities for ease of transport in cases such as this.