Three vehicles, 40 shops razed in Lagos market fire
The New Year eve which would have been a period for the affected traders to take stock of their performance in 2019 and ready themselves for the better outing this year turned sour as the fire destroyed goods, properties, and vehicles running into millions of naira.
Some eyewitnesses told The Guardian that no less than 40 shops, five storage facilities, 20 residential rooms, and cash, all worth millions of naira, were lost to the inferno. They added that the goods in the shops and storage facilities include provisions, animal feeds, and food items.
Some of the operators at the market who spoke with newsmen thanked God that no life was lost from what they described as a ‘mysterious’ fire.
The sellers in separate interviews said they were grateful that no one died in the incident, which burnt many shops and three vehicles.
An eyewitness, Abiola Ajayi, said: “This is the third time fire has engulfed this cattle market in 2019 alone and we cannot blame it on anyone, except the traders. On a spot, you can find three different generating sets brewing smoke, yet you will see somebody cooking near these generators with gas cooker. They are the one spoiling their property,” she noted.
The secretary of the traders in the market, Adewale Akeweje, said some of his members had removed their wares from their shops before the raging fire became uncontrollable. Ajeweje, however, said nobody could ascertain how the fire started.
“The incident did not affect any life; by the time the fire had spread, some people had already removed their properties. It affected some shops and some living apartments there.
Personally, I don’t have an idea of what caused it, we heard that some people just saw the fire around the area where rams are sold,” he said.
Akeweje commended the timely response of the Lagos State Fire Service, from the State Secretariat in Alausa, which helped to put out the fire. “We were called around 11:00 a.m., that part of our area at Kara was burning. Before we got there, they had stopped the fire from spreading to other areas. The fire fighters from Alausa really tried,” he added.
Also, Tanko Abdullahi, a ram seller, whose stall was not far from the incident, said he was grateful that no life was lost, adding that “as far as there is life, there is hope.”
Same view was expressed by Muhammad Shehu, an eyewitness, who added that the fire was a mystery as no one could ascertain how it started, and it was a bad way of ending the year.
Shehu, while relaying his story about one of the burnt vehicles, said the owner had come to buy a ram for the new year festival, only for his car to get burnt beyond recognition.
“The other two vehicles parked there did not get damaged beyond recognition, this one just couldn’t be helped. The owner came to buy ram and I saw him when he parked the car before I left the area for a while. The next thing I heard was that the area was on fire, how that happened is still a mystery. We thank God that no life was lost,” he said.
Meanwhile, there was palpable confusion at NTA area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital yesterday as an ancient building went up in flames. The actual cause of the inferno could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.
Nonetheless, it was gathered that the fire, which lasted more than five hours, affected all the 12 rooms in the building. Those living in the area with some passersby were said to have made spirited efforts to quell the fire.
At the state Fire Service station in Ibadan, a source said that an eyewitness, who introduced himself simply as Pastor Kayode, made a distress call to the fire fighters at about 6:20 a.m.
Another eyewitness, Tunde Oredola, said: “We just noticed a thick smoke and before one could say, Jack, the building was engulfed by fire. No life was lost in the mishap but several valuables were destroyed. Before the firemen arrived at the scene, we used water and sand to fight the fire.”
Efforts to see some of the inhabitants of the building were abortive as many of them were said to have been whisked away from the building by their extended family members and friends.
Olalekan Muideen Ajao, one of the sympathisers at the scene, said he learnt of it through an online broadcast early the morning. “I rushed to see it myself since I am living nearby. We are hearing different stories about the cause of the fire. Some people said it happened as someone was cooking. However, it was reported online that the fire was caused by electric spark”, he said.
When visited, a part of the building had collapsed while the roof was completely razed by fire. Items such as mattresses, bags of beans and pieces of furniture were said to have perished in the fire.
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