By Kevwe Ebireri
A fire has gutted a three-story building opposite the Cyprian Ekwensi house (Arts and Culture Centre), Area 10, Garki, Abuja.
The building houses a branch of the Union Bank (ground floor), an exquisite furniture showroom and a photography workshop on the top floor, amongst other businesses.
More than 30 minutes after the fire started, the fire service which is just about 200 meters from the scene was yet to arrive as the fire spread uncontrollably.
When fire fighters eventually arrived, they were ill-prepared to match the raging inferno which had then consumed the first two floors and ran out of water in less than five minutes.
The crowd that gathered around to watch the destruction, angrily criticised the fire fighters for their incompetetence and booed at the emergency vehicles that paraded the areas at top speed.
Some hoodlums, however, were seen trying to break into the Union Bank on the ground floor, obviously to loot what they could before the fire ravaged the offices.
The cause of the fire is not known but its was first sighted at the top floor that housed the photography workshop for photo frames and the like.
The fire quickly spread due to the materials used in the workshop which are believed to be highly flammable.
There was huge traffic in the area due to the incident as vehicles were prevented from plying the roads closest to the burning building.