Phil Hallmark Shopping Mall, the biggest Shopping Mall in Benin the Edo State capital was, yesterday razed by fire, even as Governor Godwin Obaseki has said there would be full investigation to unravel the immediate and remote cause(s) of the fire.
The governor, who spoke when he paid an on-the-spot assessment visit to the scene, also said investigation would be conducted into the activities of the state fire service.
Obaseki described the damage as catastrophic and a major disaster.
According to him, ”this incident happening at this time of the year is a catastrophe. I have asked for a written report and investigation into the cause of the fire.
“We will also investigate the claim by an official of the state Fire Service on the allegation of lack of equipment.
“I understand that trucks were distributed by the NDDC and the state government during the last administration.”
Earlier, Managing Director of the mall, Mr. Philip Edigin, said the fire started at midnight and lamented that all efforts to get the state fire service proved abortive, as an unnamed official told him there was no diesel to work.
According to him, he was later able to get help from the Nigeria Air Force Fire Service, IDSL NPDC and UNIBEN, before the state fire service arrived at 6a.m.