Bedlam, confusion and a sense of calamity reigned for a couple of hours and hovered over the entire vicinity of the office complex of the Secretary to the Delta State Government, SSG, Hon. Festus Ovie-Agas, when a mysterious fire broke out in the building housing the Library section of the SSG’s office and threatened to engulf the complex and possibly spread to other buildings within the area.
The Delta SSG’s office, which is located off Cabinet Road, within the area where the commissioners quarters, as well as other government staff official and high brow residential buildings belonging to key politicians and high ranking civil servants, are also located, became a beehive of frenzied activity and movement, as the unexpected fire outbreak sent panic waves across the vicinity and forced residents of the Government Reserved Area (GRA) to troop out of their houses for fear of the unknown.
The fire, which started at about 12.03am on Friday, January 6, also forced the SSG and over 80 staff of his office, who were only just beginning to settle down and grapple with the outstanding work overload, carried over from the yuletide holidays into the new year, to rush out of their various offices and crowd behind the main office complex towards the generator house and in front of the adjoining bungalow housing the Library section, where the fire had broken out and tell-tale smoke was still filtering out from the roof inside the building to indicate that something was still burning in there.
While accounts differed on what possibly could have caused the mysterious fire, between the harmattan haze to electrical problem that may have resulted in an unexpected outage and indeed outright sabotage by conspiracy theorists, eye witnesses confirm that, despite the initial brave attempts by some staff to deploy the handy fire extinguishers within the SSG’s office to fight the outbreak, more damage would have been recorded, if not for the timely intervention of the Delta SSG, Hon. Festus Ovie-Agas who, after the initial uncertainty that engulfed the scenario, had remained quite calm, summoned the Fire Service department and waited with the rest of the staff, until they had arrived to tackle the fire.
Speaking exclusively to some curious newsmen who happened on the scene, Hon. Agas said, “Well as you must have heard, a mysterious fire broke out in the Library section. I was in my office when I was informed of the strange fire outbreak and I had to quickly come down to see things for myself. I cannot say for certain now, what was responsible for the fire outbreak and we must thank God that it did not happen at night or during the weekend, but I suspect it may have been an electrical fault and I am quite impressed with the men of the Fire Service, who responded promptly and, as you can see, are well equipped to handle the fire. It is indeed a big plus to the Delta state government that our fire service department is fully equipped and ready at all times to respond to such situations in double quick time”, he said.
The extent of damage caused by the mysterious fire could not be ascertained as at press time, but preliminary assessment indicate that though the men of the Fire Service fought hard to put the fire under control, one of the apartments in the Library section had already been razed and some books, documents and property had been torched before the fire was finally quenched.