A plank market in Abule-Egba area of Lagos state was engulfed in fire in the early hours of Monday, September 8, 2014 leading to the destruction of building materials worth several millions of naira.
Over 50 shops along with 2 vehicles – a commercial bus and a Toyota saloon car – were destroyed in the inferno which was said to have been caused by a power surge in one of the shops in the market.
According to Vanguard, this will go down as the 3rd market to be burnt in 3 months.
Director of Lagos state fire service, Rasaq Fadipe a truck with 10,000 litres of water was brought to the scene to douse the flames while 2 other trucks from Ikeja and Ikotun stations were also dispatched.
According to Fadipe,“the trucks were positioned strategically to cut the fire from where it was heading and were able to contain it to the arena. So far, 50 shops, made up of iron sheets, planks, cutting machines and other building materials in a row of three, were consumed by the fire. No life was lost, neither was anyone injured.”
Fadipe raised concerns concerning the effect of such fires on the nation’s economy and the owners of the shops, accusing the executives of markets in Lagos state of not following the agreement reached between them and the fire service, which led to the incident.
“In January 2014, we held a meeting with executives of plank markets in Lagos, where we advised them on fire security measures but they failed to heed the advice. Since the meeting, three markets have been razed by fire. There is also the need for centralised power generator in the markets as against the situation where each trader has his power generating set and kegs of petroleum products in his shop, which usually spark up fire in the event of fire incident. The need for segmentation can never be over emphasised. By this I mean , each product should be assigned to a row in the market. That way, if there is any fire outbreak, we will know where to concentrate on and how to safeguard such area.”
While the inferno was still on, many of the traders rushed to the scene in a bid to salvage their wares. Those whose rows were affected could not get anything out, while others, whose rows were not affected were able to take some of their property out of the market, which led to many of them losing their wares after hoodlums who pretended to be helping out made away with their goods, although policemen from Abule Egba police station who later arrived on the scene prevented the hoodlums who had attempted to hijack the situation to steal.
An unnamed trader who sells drinks and recharge cards in the market said she lost oveer N200,ooo to the fire while another who gave her name as Mrs. Bola Shotobu said 2 deep freezers, an electricity generating set and an undisclosed amount of money to the inferno.