The National Youth Service Corps section of the Federal Secretariat, Asaba, Delta State, was on Tuesday engulfed in flames and one of the firefighters, who came to extinguish the inferno, was left in a critical condition as he was said to have fallen from the second floor.
It was gathered that the fire, which razed down the NYSC section of the secretariat, started around 7am and caused panic among the workers, who ran helter-skelter.
When our correspondent visited the scene, some of the workers, including the NYSC state coordinator, were seen trying to salvage some documents from the rubble.
The State Coordinator, NYSC, Mrs Olutayo Samuel, said everything in the section was destroyed.
She said, “What happened this morning (Tuesday) is very unfortunate. I got a call that our office was on fire and I quickly rushed there; I don’t know how the fire gutted the office. Nobody can ascertain what exactly caused the fire.
“Virtually everything there got burnt; everything in the office got damaged. All the documents were burnt to ashes, but we have back-up. You know this is the technology age, so everything is in our system.
“Coincidentally, we took some of our systems to the camp and they are still at the camp; so, there will be no setback, because we have them in the system.
“I cannot put a cost to it now, but it is a colossal damage. But by the grace of God, no life was lost, because that is the most important thing. I feel good because whatever was damaged can be replaced.”
Office of the officials of the Federal Fire Service, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the quick response of the agency and its state counterpart prevented the fire from escalating to other sections of the secretariat.
He stated, “We thank God that no life lost was lost, but two of our men sustained injuries. One of them is in a critical condition, because he fell from second floor in the process of combating the fire.
“We quickly rushed him to the Federal Medical Centre and we have spoken to the medical director of the hospital; he said they were attending to him. What really happened today is sad.
“Because of our quick response with the state fire service, the fire would have escalated to the entire complex; it only affected the NYSC section. For now, we cannot really say what actually caused the fire, but we are assuming it to be electrical surge.
“The fire started around 7am. It was the cleaners, who usually come early to the office, who saw the smoke and raised the alarm. So, immediately our men swung into action because here is our office also.”