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Traders recount losses as fire razes market


 The burnt section of the market

The burnt section of the market

No fewer than 50 shops were yesterday morning destroyed by fire at Ladipo Auto Spare-Parts Market, Mushin, Lagos. Multi-billion naira worth of goods, particularly assorted vehicle spare parts, were burnt at the Osoro section of the market.

According to the Public Relations Officer, Ladipo Auto Dealers Association, Mr. Nkire Ezeigbo, the fire started at about 3.30a.m. from the Osoro/Akinwumi section of the popular spare parts market.

Chairman of the Osoro section of the market, Mr. Felix Okoro, said though no casualty was recorded, goods worth millions of naira were consumed by the inferno.

By 6:00a.m., many of the affected shop owners had started arriving the scene to access the extent of damage and secure some items not destroyed by the fire. Many of them claimed to have lost huge sums of money kept in the shops to the fire.

One man, who at the scene betrayed his emotions and wailed helplessly, said the sum of N2.5 million, which was kept in the shop to purchase new stock had gone up in flames. Another shop owner was, however, lucky, as he hid his money in a locker. He was able to recover the N200,000 saved in the locker alongside some important documents.

According to an eyewitness, it took the frantic efforts of residents, who mobilised to put out the fire before the arrival of the fire service. “It would have been worse than this if not for the determined effort of residents, who trooped out to stop the fire from engulfing the kiosks and wooden shanties.

“No casualty was recorded and residents mobilised to ensure that all houses in the street were not razed down, excluding the last building on Osoro Street, which had clusters of kiosks and wooden shanties. The arrival of the fire service also helped in reducing the casualty.”

Another eyewitness blamed the source of the fire to a spark from an electrical cable. “I was in my room when PHCN brought the light and immediately it went off again. But in that instant, we heard a very loud explosion, which sounded thrice. Suddenly, everywhere was engulfed with smoke. I tried to call the fire fighters and they came to our rescue.”

When The Guardian visited the scene yesterday, there were visible signs of damaged electrical installations. Some electric poles had wires dangling dangerously, and some poles still had melted wires on it. Also damaged in the inferno were some cars parked on the street.

The Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasak Fadipe, who confirmed the incident, said his men had responded swiftly to the distress call and eventually put out the fire at about 10:00a.m.

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