23rd August, 2011
At least 34 Nigerian pilgrims performing this yearâ€™s Lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia narrowly escaped death following an early morning fire outbreak in their hotel today in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the hotel, a seven-storey, is some metres away from Nigerian Consulate office in Jeddah.
NAN reports that the fire engulfed the fourth floor of the hotel and it took men of the Saudi fire service over two hours to put it out.
A man, believed to be a staff of the hotel who refused to disclose his identity, attributed the cause of the fire to electrical fault arising from the misuse of an electric cooker by a guest in the hotel.
NAN observed that over 60 occupants of the hotel including females and children escaped unhurt.
Among those who were successfully evacuated from the hotel were members of the advance team of the Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, who is expected to arrive in Medina this evening for the Lesser Hajj.
Some Nigerians, who spoke to NAN on the incident, saluted the prompt response of the Saudi Fire Service to the incident.
â€œMy greatest surprise during the fire outbreak was that neither the hotel management nor the firefighters cut out the electricity supply of the hotel even though the fire was caused by an electrical problem.
â€œYou can see that we are still enjoying the supply of electricity in all the floors in spite of the fire incident except the affected fourth floor,â€ said one of the hotel occupants who is from Nigeria.