Iga Idunganran, the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, on Lagos Island, was at scene of confusion on Tuesday as fire gutted part of the monarch’s royal resident.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the fire emanated from an air conditioner in the palace around 1.30pm with smoke billowing to the sky, which attracted a mammoth crowd to the area
The palace gate was, however, shut to the crowd as firefighters from the Lagos State Fire Service, Sari Iganmu and Ilupeju stations, battled with the fire. It was eventually put out around 3.30pm.
A source close to the palace, disclosed to PUNCH Metro that Akiolu was around when the incident happened.
He said the palace authorities did not want to speak to people on the fire.
He said, “The fire started around 1.30pm. The fire service arrived 1.50pm. Except the emergency officials, nobody was allowed to enter. The gate was shut. A lot of policemen were on the ground. The fire started from one of the air conditioners in the palace. I learnt the kabiyesi (Akiolu) was inside the palace when the incident happened.”
Our correspondent learnt that apart from the Lagos State firefighters, officials of the Federal Fire Service, Julius Berger Fire Service and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency joined in the effort to put out the fire.
An emergency official, who did not want his name in print as he was not authorised to speak to the press on the incident, confided in PUNCH Metro that the fire affected an apartment on the second floor of the palace.
The source said furniture, clothes and some other household items in the apartment were destroyed, adding that the fire affected the living room wall of the apartment.
He said, “The palace is a storeyed building. The fire affected an apartment on the second floor. It is a flat and the living room was nearly damaged. The fire was broke out from one of the air conditioners in the house. The apartment was full of smoke by the time firefighters arrived at the palace.
“The smoke had engulfed everywhere, so we didn’t discover the point of the fire immediately. Household items, such as clothes and furniture, were destroyed. The radiation of the fire slightly affected the bedroom of the apartment. It was a sensitive incident. The palace authorities told us that they did not want it to be in the public domain. We were not even allowed to take pictures of the apartment.”
Efforts to get reactions of the Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasaq Fadipe and the LASEMA General Manager, Mr. Adesina Tiamiyu, proved abortive as calls put across to their lines indicated not reachable.
However, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, confirmed the incident, adding that the situation had been brought under control.
He said, “The state and federal fire services, Julius Berger and United Bank for Africa fire services, as well as LASEMA, were on the ground. They put out the fire around 3.30pm. No life was lost. The Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, and other senior officers were also at the scene. Investigations are ongoing to ascertain the cause of the fire.”