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Christ Embassy: Lagos mulls demolition, Oyakhilome promises bigger church.

24th June 2024

Fire guts Christ Embassy headquarters in Lagos

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency has hinted at the possibility of demolishing the Christ Embassy building located on Billings Way, Oregun, in the Ikeja area of Lagos State, which was gutted by fire in the early hours of Sunday, if it fails an integrity test.

This is just as the President and founder of LoveWorld Incorporated, also known as Christ Embassy, Rev Chris Oyakhilome, said it would rebuild a better and bigger structure to replace the affected building.

LASEMA’s Permanent Secretary, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, gave the hint while fielding questions from journalists at the scene of the fire incident on Sunday.

Our correspondent who visited the scene of the incident gathered that the fire started at about 7:30 am but the quick intervention of emergency responders prevented it from escalating to adjoining buildings.

Reporters also observed that some parts of the building were pulled down by an excavator so that sections that were engulfed in fire could be accessed.

Speaking on the incident, Oke-Osanyintolu disclosed that the intensity of the fire had caused cracks in the wall of the building, which therefore required that an integrity test be conducted on the building.

In his words, “We have seen a lot of structural defects; there are cracks on the walls, and we are carrying out evacuation so that the place will be safe.

“We will ensure to subject the building to an integrity test where we can determine the next line of action. We cannot demolish at this moment until an integrity test is carried out. If it is not safe, then we will take the next action.

“We are working with the church, and they have been cooperating with us, which is why we were able to swiftly combat the fire. We have the structural design of the building with us, and we will investigate thoroughly to ascertain the cause of the fire.”

The Lagos emergency management boss noted that though there was basic firefighting equipment in the church at the time of the fire, the presence of highly flammable materials contributed to the intensity of the fire.

He added, “As a professional, I realized that maybe there were lots of flammables in there in terms of the curtains and other materials. However, from what I have seen, they have basic firefighting equipment, trained men to curtail fire, and fire hydrants.

“One way or the other, we work as a team with them, and that’s why despite the fire being massive, it did not spread, and there was no casualty.”

In his reaction, Oyakhilome, during a live Sunday service at the church’s campground in Asese, Ogun State, disclosed that the fire incident at the church’s headquarters in Lagos is an opportunity to rebuild the razed building in a bigger and better way.

He said, “Nothing happens in the life of a child of God by accident. During the 2001 Ikeja cantonment bombing incident, the building vibrated so much, that we thought it was going to collapse. I thought to myself that if it collapsed, I was going to build a bigger, better one. At the end of the day, it didn’t collapse, and we called the engineers to see if there was any need to bring it down and rebuild, but it was still okay.

“Now that this has happened, we will build a bigger, better, and more glorious one, and the devil will lick his wounds.”

Also speaking on the incident, the Head of the Search and Rescue Unit of the Lagos Territorial Office of the National Emergency Management Agency, Ibitayo Adenike, noted that the absence of worshippers at the time the fire started prevented casualties from occurring in the incident.

She said, “At the time of the fire, there were no worshippers in the building. There were only a few people who were having a meeting, which was what helped to prevent casualties that might have occurred with a crowd.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service said an investigation had commenced into the cause of the fire.

The Director of LSFRS, Margaret Adeseye, in a statement on Sunday, added, “The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, and investigations are underway to ascertain its origin.

“No casualties have been reported at this time. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”

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