Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fire Razes Nigeria National Theatre

The new year has started on a bad note for ten male dancers working with the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. The fire incident took place at the male block of the artiste camp of the National Troupe of Nigeria on Monday about 10.20am.

Five of the rooms were gutted by fire and property worth thousands of naira destroyed; while the roofing was completely razed. No life was lost but properties which the artiste-occupants of the block, who are currently observing their annual leave, left behind were completely burnt before the arrival of the National Theatre Fire Service men who did their best to stop the fire from spreading to the other blocks, particularly the two new blocks that is currently being renovated for habitation.

An eyewitness, Omoayi Kotun Abiodun, a gardener at the hostel said the fire was unfortunate. “I was outside in the compound when I saw smoke coming out of one of the rooms. There are five rooms and two male dancers live in each room, so this fire affected ten of them. I called other people to come to assist me but before we could do anything, the fire has spread to other rooms. This fire started about 10.20am , we thought we could quench it but we could not.” The fire destroyed laptops, desktops, printers, household goods like fan, cooking pots, blenders, books, clothes, camera, cooking utensils, stoves, gases cylinders, beddings, travelling bags and other equipment.

“The dancers went on leave and we have contacted them about the fire, this is unfortunate as they will come back and apart from losing their property, they will also not have any where to stay, this year has indeed started on a bad note for them; we are grateful that nobody died, if not the story will have been worst.”

When contacted, officers of the fire service at the National theatre who requested anonymity said the fire was caused by a power surge.

“Immediately we heard about this fire about past eleven, we organised men and we got to the scene, but it was too late as all the rooms and the property inside have been gutted by fire, we tried our possible best to put it off. We suspect that the fire was caused by a power surge, because the people we spoke with said the fire started after they heard a loud sound, so it was a power surge but there was no loss of life” the officer said.

The Artistic Director, Martin Adaji and members of management team who visited the scene of the fire incident expressed surprise at the incident.“This has never happened before. I understand that efforts was made to put off the fire before it spreads but the windy weather aided the fire. But we thank God that no life was lost. We will set up a committee to investigate the cause of the incident,” he said.

Although the cause of the fire has not yet been established, Shaibu Husseini, an official of the troupe stated that a preliminary enquiry indicated that it would have been caused by power surge in one of the rooms at the block.

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