Judicial activities were temporarily paralysed on Wednesday at the premises of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere as fire gutted the chambers of the state Chief Judge, Justice Funmilayo Atilade.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the incident occurred at about 8.30am following a spark from one of the air-conditioning units in the CJ’s chambers, which is on the top floor of the building.
An unconfirmed report said that the fire started when one of the cleaners switched on a faulty air-conditioner and left the room.
But another witness (name withheld) said the fire was noticed by a security woman, popularly called Alhaja, who immediately raised an alarm.
The security woman was said to have been taken to the hospital as a result of the smoke she allegedly inhaled before the arrival of the firefighters.
NAN reports that the courtroom, which was hardly used by the chief judge, was reserved for her anytime she comes to the Lagos Division of the court.
The timely intervention of the Lagos State Fire Service prevented the fire from spreading to other courtrooms.
The witness, who does not want his name mentioned, said it took the firefighters about one hour to put off the fire, as a result of heavy smoke emitting from the court room.
NAN reports that the inferno disrupted activities as the gates of the building were locked for about three hours.
NAN also reports that some of the furniture and bookshelves in the CJ’s chamber were partly destroyed as a result of the incident.
One of the court registrars, who pleaded anonymity, said the fire started from one of the air-conditioning units in the CJ’s chamber “and before anyone could know about it, it had gone out of control”.
The registrar said his colleagues, litigants and lawyers hurriedly ran down the stairs, to save their vehicles.
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