From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The popular Airport Road in Abuja witnessed an unusual traffic last Sunday. Ironically, it was a day that Abuja roads had scanty users as a result of the Sallah holiday.
The reason for the logjam on Airport Road was the fire that gutted a part of the expansive and magnificent House on the Rock Church, known as Citadel and Tower.
The edifice, according to the police, went up in flames following electrical fault a few hours after Sunday service.
The inferno, it was gathered started at 1.30pm from the part of the building being renovated. It lasted for several hours before fire officials could put it out.
Daily Sun gathered that thew main church building has been under renovation, while a makeshift auditorium was provided beside the building, for use during Sunday services and other church programmes.
Many members of the church could not control their emotions, as tears flowed freely. At a point, they were aggressive towards anybody that tried to ask questions on what caused the fire.
One of the members, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent that the fire started following an electrical spark from the section of the building under renovation. He said: “Gradually, we begun to see smoke and that attracted the attention of other church workers.
“We immediately contacted other church officials and together, we begun to put heads together on how to extinguish the fire. But the more we tried, the more the fire spread, until it overwhelmed us. The fire officials, contacted a few minutes after, tried all they could, but achieved little result. I was totally disappointed with the FCT and federal fire officials.”
While the fire was burning, some worshippers and passersby watched helplessly but prayed fervently. They had to wait the arrival of reinforcement from superior officials.
However, the arrival of fire officials from Julius Berger construction company and the headquarters of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at about 5: 10pm, assisted by NEMA officials, brought respite, as the officials battled the fire till about 6pm when they eventually put it out..
Result of preliminary investigation, according to Wuye Divisional Police Officer, ASP Salomi Jimbest confirmed that the fire was caused by power surge at the auditorium.
She also confirmed that no life was lost, as all the members have vacated the building before the commencement of the inferno.