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Fire Strikes Ooni of Ife Palace, Miraculously Spares Cultural Artifacts

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ILE IFE, Nigeria – In a shocking late-night incident, an electrical fire has razed a building within the esteemed palace of Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.

While the fire significantly damaged the structure, there were no casualties and no cultural items were destroyed.

The incident occurred at around 11:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28, 2023, according to a palace staffer who spoke anonymously due to lack of authorisation to speak on the matter.

The source revealed that the fire was a result of an electrical power surge which caused some appliances within the apartment to explode.

“The building was burnt to the ground,” the palace staffer said, expressing relief that despite the severity of the incident, no lives were lost.

Moses Olafare, the palace spokesperson, confirmed the incident in a statement on Saturday, April 29, 2023. Olafare praised the swift response of both the government fire service and Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Fire Service, along with the Palace Emergency Control Unit.

Their combined efforts successfully controlled the fire and prevented it from spreading to other buildings within the palace.

Olafare emphasized that the fire did not destroy any cultural artifacts, a relief for historians and the community who value the palace not only as a place of residence but also as a treasure trove of rich Yoruba heritage.

“The fire was contained within the affected building and thanks to the immediate intervention of our emergency services, no cultural items were lost in this unfortunate incident,” Olafare stated.

As the community comes to terms with the shock of the incident, the palace is expected to conduct an inspection to assess the extent of the damage and plan the necessary reconstruction.

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