Fire guts Lagos Chief Judge’s chamber, stalls court sittings
The chamber of the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Funmilayo Atilade was yesterday gutted by fire suspected to have been caused by a spark from an air-conditioning unit.
The fire led to a disruption of the usual court sittings as litigants were evacuated from the premises and the gates locked.
The fire was first sighted around 8.15a.m. at the courtroom, which is on the top floor of the old building at Igbosere.
One of the court registrars, who spoke on the condition of anonymity disclosed: “The fire started from one of the air-conditioning units in the CJ’s chamber. Before anyone could get to know, it had gone out of control. I quickly informed my colleagues in the office and we ran down the stairs to our vehicles, which we drove out of the premises.”
Unconfirmed reports said that the fire started when one of the cleaners switched on a faulty air-conditioner and left the courtroom. Another report said that a security woman, who sniffed the smoke from the fire, raised the alarm.
The courtroom, which was hardly used by the chief judge, is reserved for her anytime she comes to the Lagos division of the court. The entire building was saved from being burnt down following the quick intervention of the Lagos State Fire Service that prevented the fire from spreading to other courtrooms.
It also took the firefighters about one hour to put off the fire as a result of heavy smoke emitting from the courtroom.
Some of the furniture and bookshelves in the CJ’s chamber were partly destroyed as a result of the incident. It was learnt that the firefighters got to the scene about 30 minutes after the incident started.