Hayatullahi Mudathir (Abu Lubabah) writes,
Reacting to the fire outbreak that engulfed the Benjee Hostel on Friday 2nd December, 2022 around 2:00p.m where no fewer than 36 rooms were burnt into ashes, the Students’ Union Caretaker Committee had taken a drastic step to helping the tenants who turned refugees in less than an hour on the black-letter-day.
When Shamsudeen Umar, the chairman SU Caretaker Committee was contacted, he narrated to PEN PRESS that when he was called for the incident, he instantly informed the owner of the house, Alhaji Abubakar Aliero Benjee, who quickly called on the state fire service to contain the fire.
“Immediately I called him, he instructed that the Generator should first be put on for water pumping and should be continually used to prevent the spread of the fire before the arrival of the fire service,” he added.
Apartment with 500 Rooms, Only One Entrance—Management Faults Hostel Owner
Shamsudeen Umar further narrated that the school fire service arrived at the scene of the incident before the arrival of the state fire service.
“When the school fire service arrived the scene, we discovered that only one entrance leads to the whole building of 500 rooms and this caused delay in operating the fire extinguisher as no other way leads to the exact place burning which is far from outside.”
PEN PRESS gathered that the fire was unable to control for about 3 hours as gases continually explode due to unavailability of multiple entrances to allow fighters in to the apartment.
“The school fire fighters tried their best before the state fire service’s operators took up the operation, and with the help of good ‘Samaritan’ among the students who had to forcefully break many walls to enter the building from different areas while others fetch water with buckets, the fire was totally contained.
“The management bitterly complained about the entrance and had called the house owner to order,” he said.
The chairman also noted that the cause of the fire outbreak has not yet been ascertained, but investigation is still going on it.
“Although, someone said that the cause was due to an electricity spark, but we haven’t ascertained the cause yet, but investigation has commenced to unravel the cause.
“I’ve discussed with the VC and he has promised that the management would set up a committee to look into the issue, the causes and way out of preventing its future occurrence,” he replied.
My Car was Also Affected— CTC Chairman
Reacting to the question asked regarding the fate of the affected students, Comrade Shamsudeen Umar expressed his heartfelt grief and promised to take a bold step in helping the affected students.
His words: “The incident was terrible. In fact, I parked my car at a distance place, but the explosion of the gasses was weird that it destroyed my car’s rear screen.
“I will urge those affected students to exercise some patience pending the management’s decision because the management would surely do something for them,” he urged.
He also said that he had called for an emergency meeting with his executive members to sit and look at one or two ways the Students’ Union Caretaker can come in to help them.
“For now, We have discussed with the Dean Students’ Affairs and we have provided a place for the fire victims to live in the mean time.
“They should just go to the Bakassi Hostels and ask for ‘Portal’, the common rooms in the hostels have been provided for them to live in the meantime,” he said.