Samson Folarin and Afeez Hanafi
Goods said to worth millions of naira were on Sunday destroyed, while more than 300 structures were razed after fire gutted the Lagos State office of the Nigerian Breweries Plc, and the Kara Cattle Market in Ogun State.
The brewery fire, which occurred in the Costain, Iganmu area of Lagos, occurred around 4am and destroyed some sections of the facility.
PUNCH Metro gathered that a large number of crates, containing empty and filled bottles of drinks, as well as two containers, were engulfed in flames.
Although the main fire had been brought under control, emergency officials were still battling with pockets of fire on the company’s premises as of 5pm when this report was filed.
Our correspondent learnt that the fire, whose cause had yet to be ascertained, covered acres of land, where goods were kept.
The Lagos State Fire Service Director, Mr. Rasaq Fadipe, said the fire was prevented from spreading to a filling station and tank farms on the premises.
He said, “The fire covered about four acres of land. It is an open space where both full and empty cartons are kept. The fire was very massive because bottles are petrochemical products, which are very difficult to battle. Seven fire trucks were deployed from the state fire service and complemented with Julius Berger’s three fire trucks.
“There are still pockets of fire here are there and we are trying to remove cartons that have not been affected. The fire service station at Sari Iganmu saw smokes billowing and traced it to the company. They didn’t call us.”
Fadipe urged property owners to always alert the fire service to any fire outbreak irrespective of its enormity.
The General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Adesina Tiamiyu, said the pallet section of the brewery was also affected.
“No casualty was recorded in the incident, but a large number of goods were destroyed,” he added.
The Corporate Affairs Adviser, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Kufre Ekanem, in a statement on Sunday stated that only empty bottles and plastic crates were affected, adding that the incident did not disrupt the company’s operation.
“There was a fire outbreak today at the empty bottle compound of the Lagos plant of the Nigerian Breweries Plc in Iganmu, Lagos. The fire, which started early in the morning, has been put under control by men of the Lagos State Fire Service supported by the Nigerian Brewery fire team and other nearby corporate organisations,” the statement read in part.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 300 structures were consumed in the Kara Cattle Market, Ogun State, while thousands of residents were rendered homeless by the fire.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the fire started around 2pm after a resident tried to refuel a working generator.
It was said to have quickly spread round the makeshift structures, covering about three acres of land.
Our correspondent gathered that the fire also consumed goods in the market, as the structures were used for residential and commercial purposes.
Firefighters from the Lagos State Fire Service and the National Emergency Management Agency were said to have responded to the situation.
The Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Fadipe, said active firefighting operation was still ongoing as of 6pm.
He said, “The fire started around 2pm and covered three acres of land. Preliminary investigations show that someone in the area decided to refuel his generator while it was still working and that was what caused the fire.
“We discovered that more than 300 structures were destroyed. And most of them served commercial and residential purposes. There was no casualty in the incident, except loss of property.”
The spokesperson for NEMA, South-West zone, Ibrahim Farinloye, said the agency had yet to ascertain the cause of the fire.
He urged residents to take proactive measures for the safety of their families and people in their neighborhood.
“We need to pay more attention to safety. Anything that can endanger our lives must be completely avoided. We are still investigating the fire incident,” he added. (The Nation)