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Fire guts house in Lagos as residents lament delayed response

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There was an uproar on Tuesday evening at No. 5, Shonde Street, Itire area of Surulere, Lagos, as firefighters who were called by neighbours of a burning house arrived late at the scene after the house was completely burnt and properties looted by thugs who assisted in putting off the fire.
 
According to Damilola Martins, the landlord’s son, the fire was caused by an electric spark some minutes after electricity was restored around 4 p.m. yesterday, leading to an explosion.

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An eyewitness lamented alleged apathy displayed by the firefighters, saying they had promptly called the firefighters about eight times when the fire started, but the calls were transferred from one quarter to another, first from Abuja to Lagos and then Ojuelegba station, while residents rallied to put off the fire.
 
“Some affected residents in the one-storey building only managed to escape being caught in the inferno. They could not salvage any of their properties while the house was burnt down completely,” he said.
 
The firefighters, it was gathered later, came with their truck and some policemen around 6:00 p.m. by which time the house had been razed and the fire put out by neighbours.
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PraiseGod Okoro, one of the fire responders, said they were harassed by neighbours, and they had to kneel down to beg for coming late. He lamented that the government was negligent to the security and safety of people’s lives and properties.
 
But the Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said in a statement that fire was extinguished by emergency responders who stormed the premises when the alarm was raised, adding that the fire was caused by an electric power surge when supply was restored to the area.
 
“Fortunately, no life was lost and no injury sustained. The combined efforts of the agency’s responders and firefighters from Lagos State and the Federal Fire Service were engaged in curtailing the spread of the fire to adjoining buildings and have extinguished it completely. The operation has been concluded,” he said.

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