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Ebute Metta: Residents lament loss of toddler, properties to fire

By Eniola Daniel
07 January 2022   |   3:08 am
It was lamentation galore yesterday as Ebute Metta residents lamented the loss of a toddler and property in the Oko Baba fire incident that ravaged the area on Wednesday.

A local resident reacts after she lost valuable goods during a fire in the biggest Lagos wood market, Oko-Baba Sawmill, in Ebute-Metta, district of Lagos, on January 5, 2022. – The largest Lagos wood market, Oko-Baba Sawmill at Ebute Metta, Nigeria’s commercial hub, was razed by fire early on January 5, 2022, destroying valuables and displacing sawmillers, traders and hundreds of residents of the sawmill and the neighbourhood. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

No life was lost- Lagos Fire Service

It was lamentation galore yesterday as Ebute Metta residents lamented the loss of a toddler and property in the Oko Baba fire incident that ravaged the area on Wednesday.
 
The residents, who were discussing the incident in clusters, when The Guardian visited, yesterday, lamented that they are starting the new year in sorrow.

Some women were seen making tents with wrappers for their children, while some young men were trying to construct makeshift shelters out of the debris.

Workers and local residents attempt to salvage goods from the fire in the biggest Lagos wood market, Oko-Baba Sawmill, in Ebute-Metta, district of Lagos, on January 5, 2022. – The largest Lagos wood market, Oko-Baba Sawmill at Ebute Metta, Nigeria’s commercial hub, was razed by fire early on January 5, 2022, destroying valuables and displacing sawmillers, traders and hundreds of residents of the sawmill and the neighbourhood. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

 
Speaking with The Guardian, a resident, Mohammed Rasaq, who claimed a toddler was lost to the incident, said: “The fire began around 10 a.m. on Wednesday while I and other residents who are commercial tricycle riders were away; I was with the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to bail out my tricycle after I was arrested, I got a call there and I had to pay the men of LASTMA N7,000 to retrieve my Keke and I rushed home to see if I could retrieve anything. My small shelter had already been consumed by the inferno, I am grateful that the fire did not consume my wife and the children, but I am in debt of N1.5 million, and now I am without a place to live.
   
He added: “My neighbours have no place to stay also, they are living outside, while some have relocated to under the bridge. I and other fellows are only with the cloth we put on before the fire. We are poor people and we are calling on the well-to-do to come to our aid. We lost money, hope and a child in the fire outbreak
 
The damage wouldn’t have gotten to this level had the Fire Service got here on time, but they couldn’t get here earlier because of traffic logjam, but their effort is commendable and they were able to save some buildings.
   
Also speaking, Gabriel Areo said: “I was processing my travel documents and I have spent over N300, 000 but my passport, property got burnt in the fire. I am hungry and I can only pray for help to get something to eat. I took my child to my brother, but whom do I run to as a grown-up man? I am sleeping outside.
MEANWHILE, Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service has claimed no life was lost in the fire incident.
 
Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Adeseye Margaret in a statement said the agency discovered that make-shift commercial shops of various sizes and patterns used in trading and stocking of wood were on fire and the crew deployed copious water and chemical foam compound to douse the raging fire.

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