Fire guts shopping plaza

Offa Markets fireGOODS worth several millions of Naira were yesterday destroyed in an early morning fire, which gutted a three-storey building housing the Ultimate Shopping Plaza at No 122/124 Broad Street, Lagos.

The building, which was adjacent to the NICON House and close to the popular Mandilas Shopping complex is used to warehouse shoes, bags and other items. Emergency responders said no life was lost in the incident, which started at about 8am on the third floor.

General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Michael Akindele, who led rescuers made up of LASEMA, the Police, Nigeria Red Cross and Nigeria Civil Defence Corps to the scene, said fire-fighters from the Union Bank Fire Service, the Lagos Fire Service and the Federal Fire Service arrived the scene early to curtail the fire from spreading to other parts of the building.

According to him, preliminary investigations revealed that the fire was caused by power surge on the third floor, which his men were able “to confine and restrict” to the floor, thereby preventing it from spreading to the other areas of the building.

Akindele also confirmed that the fire claimed no lives, while many traders in the plaza were able to salvage some of their wares. The LASEMA boss, however, decried the heavy presence of burglary proofs in the market, which he said hindered accessibility to the point of the fire, thereby slowing down rescue operation.

“All the shops were locked with proofs, thereby making it a difficult task for emergency responders. In as much as Lagosians should secure their goods by installing burglary proofs, they should do it in such a way to allow for accessibility in case of emergency,” he added.

He further urged Lagosians to buy only genuine appliances and switch them off when they are not in use to prevent fire outbreaks.

When The Guardian visited the scene at about 1.30pm, thick smoke emitting from the combustibles like shoes and bags enveloped the entire atmosphere.

Fire outbreaks have recently become a recurring phenomenon in Lagos metropolis. In April, the massive Federal Mortgage Bank building at Broad Street was gutted by fire.

Also on September 9, there was a fire outbreak in Lawanson, Surulere area, which wiped out a family of six, just days after an inferno on September 4 left an undisclosed number of people dead and property worth millions of Naira destroyed in the popular Balogun market.

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