A cashier and a customer, Adeola Adeyemi, on Tuesday abandoned money on a counter as fire gutted the Sterling Bank branch located in Oke-Ilewo area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.
Ms. Adeyemi, who works at a fuel station in the town, was in the bank to lodge the money when the fire started forcing both staffers and customers to escape through the fire exit.
She told PREMIUM TIMES she was at the bank to lodge proceeds of petroleum products sold by her firm.
She said she had just filled a N5million teller and handed over the money to the cashier, who was busy counting, when fire broke out.
“I had just filled teller for payment of N5 million which had been handed over to the cashier, who was also busy counting, before the fire outbreak.
“We had to abandon the money, to escape from the banking hall. But I have been assured of safety of the money after the fire was pull off’, she added.
Another bank customer, Olaleye Taiwo, said he was about receiving money from the cashier in the banking hall when the fire started.
“I was about to receive money from the cashier in the banking hall when I heard noise. At first, I thought that armed robbers were outside the banking hall. Then, I noticed that it was fire.
“Everybody, including the staff and the customers had to rush out for their dear lives through the emergency exit,” he narrated.
The cause of the fire has since been traced to power surge from the control room of the bank.
The Deputy Director of the State Fire and Safety Service, Adebambo Adesanya, stated this after the fire was put under control.
“We received a call from the bank that there was a fire incident. Within few minutes, we arrived the scene to control the situation. By the grace of God, everything is now under control,” he said.
“The fire occurred as a result of power surge. Presently, I can’t confirm the extent of the damage. After everything, we will be able to ascertain everything. Only a part of the roof was affected,” Mr. Adesanya said.
He warned residents to be careful with electrical gadgets during the harmattan period
“Ninety per cent of the equipment that we use in our offices and homes are purely combustible elements. The clothes, paper, writing materials, tables and chairs in our various homes and offices are combustible elements that can ignite anytime there is explosion. We must ensure that we guard against this and get ourselves ready to tackle and avert incidents like this one,” he said.