The top floor of the building, adjacent to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Towers on Herbert Macaulay Way, Central Business District, was completely destroyed, including a Toyota Camry car which was parked at the basement.
The windscreen of a Ford SUV, also parked at the basement, was damaged by falling debris.
Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that the fire started around 2:15pm from a wing of the expansive building occupied by the Institute of Human Virology.
Besides the Institute, other companies in the plaza, include Zenith Bank, Sky Bank, Sifax Nigeria Limited, the advert unit of PUNCH Nigeria Limited, Trevor Limited and others.
The fire destroyed the pent house and the third floor of the building. It later spread to the next building and razed the third floor.
The fire, however, did not affect the second and the first floor, which housed the advert unit of PUNCH Nigeria Limited and other firms.
Fire fighters from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which is closer to the plaza, got to the scene 10 minutes after the incident started.
They were later joined by officers of the Federal Fire Service and Julius Berger Fire Service, but their joint effort did not yield immediate result as the fire spread to other parts of the building before it was put out at about 5.30pm.
An eyewitness, Austin, said he was in the office when he was informed that there was a fire outbreak.
“I quickly informed my colleagues in the office and we ran down the stairs to our vehicles which we drove out of the premises,” he said.
Austin explained that a driver, Emmanuel Daji, was trapped in the lift when the power supply to the building was switched off.
He said, “We looked around and could not find our new driver, Daji, so we dialed his number only for him to tell us that he was trapped in the elevator. So, we mobilised to rescue him.”
Mohammed, a son of the deceased owner of the building, was seen observing the destruction of the property along with James Faleke, a member of the House of Representatives.
But when Faleke was approached by journalists for comment, he rebuffed them, saying, “I can’t comment on this (fire incident), is this politics?,” as he walked away with Mohammed.