Fire guts rooms in UNILAG medical hostel

The scene of the inferno | credits: Eniola Akinkuotu
Fire gutted two rooms in a male hostel in the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi Araba, on Wednesday.

The fire started from room 648 and spread to room 647 on the third floor of Block 6 Alliakilu Hostel. The fire caused pandemonium in the hostel.

One of the occupants of room 648 told one of our correspondents that they were not able to salvage any of their property.

The student, who craved anonymity, said, “Around 10am, I was playing basketball when I saw students running all over the place. When I got to the hostel, I noticed that it was my room that was on fire.

“We tried to put out the fire but it was so intense that it soon spread to the next room. The fire was raging because we couldn’t get a fire extinguisher which was in the hostel manager’s room.

“Also, there’s no water on the third floor so students had to go downstairs to get water which we used in fighting the fire.”

The student added that some minutes later, they were able to get fire extinguishers and attempted to put out the fire.

It was learnt that a commercial motorcycle operator, who had come to assist in dousing the flames sustained eye injury and was immediately rushed to Lagos University Teaching Hospital within the premises.

A security guard who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said some people seized the opportunity to steal items from other rooms whose occupants had abandoned during the pandemonium.

The firefighters were said to have arrived about an hour after the students had almost quenched the fire.

Another occupant of room 648, who identified himself only as Michael, said this was the third time the room caught fire.

He added that although the immediate cause of fire could not be ascertained, it was likely due to power fluctuation.

He said, “There were electric sparks in the room in April while we were attempting to install a ceiling fan. Some wires got burnt in the process. A few months later, a socket in the room sparked and it caused a blackout on the entire floor.

“After that incident, engineers came to repair it but since then, no permanent solution has been found. The engineers demanded money for the repair from us and after giving them, they didn’t solve the problem.”

Michael berated the school authorities for not providing enough fire-fighting equipment and other amenities.

Occupants of room 607 were however able to salvage some of their belongings.

“My SSSCE certificate, my telephone, laptop, clothes, N25,000 and other valuables were consumed in the fire,” Michael said.

The Public Relations Officer, College of Medicine, Mr. Sunday Odejimi, confirmed the incident to one of our correspondents on the telephone.

Odejimi said the affected students had been asked to squat with some of their colleagues until their relocation. He said renovations would commence soon.

The PRO however blamed the students for not reporting the electric problem to the appropriate authorities.

He said, “Everybody knows the power situation in the country. If they had problem, why didn’t they report to the appropriate authorites?

“If they were being extorted as claimed, they should have reported to the students union which would have relayed the problem to the authorities.”

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