GOODS worth the sum of N30million were yesterday destroyed in a midnight inferno at Ojo Alaba international market, Lagos.
The fire reportedly started around 11p.m from some makeshift canteens located by the ground section of the affected building, Anarchy Plaza. It houses about hundred shops.
The burnt section was a super movie store consisting of four merged shops.
Eyewitnesses said smoke signal was initially noticed from the refuse heap in front of the plaza the noon before but wasn’t taken seriously until the heat intensified and escalated into the huge inferno.
The bulk of the loss were video CDs of foreign movies, cartoons and audio-visual players.
Others were polythene nylon, diaper and beverages sold in nearby makeshift structures.
According to the market’s Chief Security Officer, (CSO), Mr Okechukwu Chinweze, the Lagos Fire Service helped to contain fire from spreading to other plaza as not handle the fire. “In the afternoon, I saw fire there beside the plaza that got burnt but it wasn’t serious. Around 11pm, we just saw fire sprouting underneath the refuse. And the content of the refuse is mainly rubbers.
That aided it and started spreading to other areas. It caught one of the generators at HP plaza but we protected the area. It was under control and we were even jubilating until we saw fire oozing out of the affected shop around 1:30pm. We tried to fight it with detergent and water. We have fire extinguishers but we were confused when the fire broke out. It was beyond the control of portable extinguishers.
The fire service men exhausted their three trucks before it was put out.” He said the indiscriminate refused disposal also contributed to the fire as traders were negligent in proper management of their wastes. “The LAWMA officials do come but some people are stubborn. They have already made the announcement for them to stop dumping refuse in the open space. But as of now they have been here today evacuate the waste. The people are to keep their refuse until the LAWMA comes for them. They come twice a week.”
An official of the market association, Finance Supervisor, Fancy Furniture Dealers, Prince Jude Osita shower praise on the Lagos Fire Service for prompt response and provision of adequately kitted ambulance. He noted that their unprecedented support avert what could have been a more severe loss. “What happened is just minor negligence because the fire started from the kitchen that was not well built.
It escalated to the plaza and before security people raised alarm, they started applying water and detergent. The information was passed to the fire service and the police. In short, I want to use this opportunity to thank the Lagos State Fire Service. They tried and they are well equipped because when Ojo fire service section water finished, they signalled Festac and they came to support them. I didn’t even know that they have a well equipped ambulance until we had two casualties, a member of the service and a member of our market.
The fire service man collapsed and ambulance took him to general hospital. After that iron hit one of our members and that was when I knew that they have well equipped ambulance. I commend the Lagos State government. There were two nurses on ground to treat the guy that midnight. The two truck they brought finished and they went to bring another one. They worked up to 7hours here.” He however, condemned the rejection of a casualty by the Igando General Hospital, saying “The General Hospital refused to treat him. They treated (The Nation)