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Controversy surrounds fire at Lagos WAEC building

Workers and residents were thrown into panic on Wednesday when fire gutted a section of the West African Examination Council building at Yaba, Lagos State.

A vulcaniser, who did not want to be identified, told PUNCH Metro during a visit to the scene that he heard the call for help of the trapped workers.

He said, “I was coming back from where I went to fix a tyre when I started to hear people from the building shouting ‘fire, fire’. Some people ran outside and others were trapped. But the fire service and other agencies rescued them. The fire moved from the floors below to the top floor.”

Security guards at the complex did not allow our correspondent into the premises and refused to speak on the incident.

Students and those who had come to make enquires were also not allowed into the building.

An official, however, said workers had vacated the building, leaving just the cleaners who were cleaning up the mess.

Our correspondent noted that the fire had been put out and business activities in the area had returned to normal.

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The Public Education Officer, Lagos State Fire Service, Amodu Shakiri, said seven women who were trapped in the building were rescued alive.

He said, “The fire started from the second floor to the seventh floor. It was an issue of a generator and the offices affected were the offices the generator was powering at that point in time. Our investigations revealed that the generator went off on its own and when a technician restarted it, fire erupted.”

However, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, in a statement, said the fire was caused by a power surge.

The statement partly read, “Upon arrival at the aforementioned location, a section of the WAEC headquarters multi-storey building was found to be on fire.

“Further investigations revealed that the fire started on the 3rd floor of the 12-storey building due to a power surge.”

The Head, Public Affairs Department, WAEC, Moyosola Adesina, stated that all important documents and records of the council were safe, adding that no life was lost.

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