Bleak Tuesday as fire ravages homes, market

The Okobaba timber market on Tuesday.

The Okobaba timber market on Tuesday.

Residents lament losses seek improved responses to fire outbreaks

IT was a bleak Tuesday for many residents as fire ravaged parts of Lagos metropolis, leaving behind lamentation and sorrow. To the victims, it was an incident they have found no words to explain as property worth billions of naira were destroyed.

Among the victims was Prince Ebeano, owner of Ebeano supermarket Lekki, a one-stop shopping mall, where a late evening inferno ravaged the shopping complex to the despair of even his worst enemy. The destruction was so monumental, that residents and onlookers were perturbed with what has become the once admired complex.

The store in the heart of Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, offers a wide

The Ebeano Supermarket, Lekki on fire... Tuesday.

The Ebeano Supermarket, Lekki on fire… Tuesday.

variety – from shawarma to clothes, foodstuff and even weavon. An eyewitness said the fire was noticed around 7 pm, while firefighters seemed to be overwhelmed with the ferocity of the inferno.

Also, no fewer than 300 rooms were reduced to rubble in another inferno at Coast Street, Ebute Meta, Lagos, when a power generating set caught fire while it was being refilled with fuel.

An eyewitness said the fire, which started about 5.20pm soon spread to other building from the burning power generator, leaving residents scampering to salvage their belongings.

It was also a similar circumstance at the densely populated Ajegunle area of Lagos, where two buildings were affected, one of which was the palace of the Baale (traditional ruler).

Although, no life was lost, scores of families were rendered homeless. The Guardian learnt that the fire was caused by petroleum products stored in one of the buildings by a black market dealer. Some occupants of the affected buildings sustained some degrees of injuries during the ensuing stampede.

Also, the fire outbreak at Idumota started after an explosion as a welder, simply identified as Israel, was constructing an iron cage for the storage of petroleum products.

Efforts to contain the fire failed as it reportedly engulfed the entire building and spread to Orodu Street. Meanwhile, residents have lamented the often-late arrival of the firefighters at the scenes of fire outbreaks.

According to them, despite the late arrival of firemen to fire scenes, some of their vehicles were often with insufficient water.
One of the residents, Ojo Michael, called for preventive measures and an improved response to fire outbreaks from fire service men, especially as the Harmattan season sets in.

Another resident, who gave his name simply as Kunle, said it was pitiable that one hour after the inferno; no fire fighters were in sight.

When they eventually came, it was just one firefighter from the Lagos state that arrived and was just loading water into their tank.

A furious resident, who gave her name simply as Ada said, “What a country that we live in! No reliable fire service on the ground for emergencies such as this. Imagine fire service loading water at the scene of the incident… When they should be making prompt moves to put out the fire. On top of that, no rescue efforts were made to save the people that were trapped in there… Nigeria really has a long way to go! It’s sad to see avoidable tragedies like this unfold.”

Meanwhile, rescue authority on Wednesday said no life was lost in the Tuesday’s multiple fire outbreaks across the state.

But the General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr. Michael Akindele, has called on all Lagosians to be safety conscious by guarding against fire outbreaks in homes and offices across the state.

While expressing dismay over the frequency of fire outbreaks in the state, he urged residents to be passionate about their lives and that of their loved ones by embracing safety culture in every aspect of their daily activities.

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