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Fire Guts Ketu market

Fire yesterday swept through some parts of Lagos, wreaking havoc in Ketu and Lawanson.

Some sections of the Jakande Market in Ketu were destroyed by the fire.

The MRS Filling Station in Lawanson, Surulere went up in flames when a tanker exploded while about discharging fuel.

The Ketu fire, which started around 4a.m., destroyed shanties, three vehicles and goods.

The fire started from the plank section and spread to the fairly used tyre and banana sections.

Most of the dejected traders declined comment. The Babaloja, Chief Taofeeq Adeoye, said he was busy having meetings.

The Nation gathered that it took emergency agencies about five hours with three fire trucks to contain the inferno.

Although the cause of the fire could not be ascertained, there were speculations that it might have been caused by electrical surge.

A fashion designer, Shina, said he was asleep when he suddenly felt hot from within.

“As I tried to take the key of the vehicle I just bought yesterday, I saw fire. I had no other option than to run for my life. It is very painful. All my machines went. I watched my shop burn. All I worked for went in minutes. The painful part of it is that all the clothes I waited behind to design burnt. How many clothes do I want to buy and refund to the owners?”he said.

A trader, Muritador, said he just brought in N4 million worth of plank machines last week, adding that he has not started using it.

He said: “I was still in bed when I received a call. I became destabilised. How I drove to the market was by God’s grace. It is really pathetic. I placed so much on this. Most of us collected loan to stock our shops.”

Mrs. Rukayat Jinadu, a restaurant operator, said she just opened her canteen on Monday.

She said she lost gas cylinders, cooking burners, foodstuff, freezers and a generator set to the fire.

“I am confused. Everything doesn’t make sense to me. I have been left to my fate,” Mrs. Jinadu said.

A furniture maker, Mr. Semiu Agoro, said he lost seven doors and two machines, adding that he had the intention to deliver the two wardrobes he just completed.

“I just pray my customer’s understand because when I got to the market, I couldn’t recognise my shop. I have cried and cried but I know it won’t bring my shop back,” he said.

A trader said if the fire service men were informed on time, it wouldn’t have gotten to that extent.

He said whenever there was fire outbreak, traders are scared because they think the government may take over.

“If not for the hoodlums that sleep in the market, most people wouldn’t have taken anything. They were the ones who helped the traders. They kept all they salvaged for the traders. They acted well,” he said.

Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), General Manager Michael Akindele said there were no casualties in the incident.

“No life was lost and no injury recorded. But three vehicles and several shops were razed. Personnel of the Lagos State Fire Service were able to contain the fire from spreading to other parts of the market, thereby, reducing the havoc. Emergency workers, the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the police responded on time. The fire was heavy because of the inflammable materials like planks and tyres. We will commence post disaster assessment. There is need to put safety measures such as smoke/fire detectors and water hydrant in place to avert such situations,” he said.

Also yesterday, the government blamed the high frequency of fires on the influx of substandard electrical appliances in the market.

In a statement, Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations Mr Oluseye Oladejo said preliminary investigation by his office and the State Fire Service, revealed that installation of substandard electrical appliances in most cases trigger fires.

Oladejo called on the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to beam its searchlight on the quality of electrical appliances coming into the country.

He urged residents to be more vigilant; go for only quality electrical appliances and ensure that they patronise only qualified electricians for installations.

The commissioner implored electricity generation (Gencos) and distribution companies (Discos) to look into the power voltage to prevent surges from high voltage which could cause fires.

The government, he said, would continue do everything within the law to ensure safety of lives and property.

“The government is not in any way comfortable with the number of fire incidents that have occurred in the last few months and, therefore, government will not look the other way while this increase in fire disasters continues,” he said.

Oladejo urged residents to be safety conscious and ensure that appliances not in use are turned off to reduce the probability of fires.

“Fire outbreaks in our homes, markets and offices are totally unacceptable and we must do something about it,” he said.

Two persons, including an attendant, four vehicles and two building were burnt in Lawanson.

A huge crowd gathered at the station as rescuers battled to quench the fire.

The attendant was said to have been burnt while attempting to open the underground fuel storage. The other victim, a resident of a nearby house, was said to be helping to fight the fire.

The heat from the underground tank is believed to have caused the fire.

He was said to have fallen from the top floor of his house while he and others were attempting to put out the fire. He was taken away by a government ambulance.

The incident occurred around 5pm. Residents battled to quench the fire before men of the Isolo and Sari Iganmu fire service arrived.

Men from the Ninth Brigade belonging to OP Mesa Unit in Mushin, Isolo and Surulere cordoned off the area to allow the fire fighters access to the scene.

The unit commander, Lieutenant Y.M Gana, said he was on the scene with two patrol vehicles to prevent hoodlums from operating.

The fire had been quenched at the time of this report.

An eyewitness said the fire, began when 33,000-litre tanker was about to deposit fuel at the station.

Eyewitnesses said as an MRS worker wanted to open where the petrol will be deposited before it exploded.

Eyewitnesses said as the worker felt the heat coming out from underground, as he tried to lock the place, there was fire everywhere.

It was observed that residents prevented the fire from spreading to other buildings.

The first floor of a one-storey building on 127, Itire Road, was razed.

A Keke Marwa operator, said he was leaving the filling station when the tanker was coming in.

He said:”I just bought N500 petrol and I saw the tanker drive in. The filling station was filled with commuter buses and Marwa. How it happened, I don’t know. It is really painful. I doubt if they were able to take anything.”

A trader, Bisi Fadipe, said she doubted if it was heat from the underground tank that caused the fire, because she saw some people smoking beside the parked tanker.

“They all ran for their lives. I am glad their boss wasn’t in his office at that moment because he never leaves his office. Everything went with the fire. I pity the staff that was injured. “

An eyewitness, Pastor Anibaba, said: “I was sitting in the taxi park with my friends when we heard the explosion. A tanker came to the fuel station and while discharging the fuel to the underground tanks, the fire started, it started from the stations underground tank. Oando is adjacent to the filing station when the fire started they sent its fire fighting truck before the Lagos fire fighting service arrived”.

 

Source: The Nation Nigeria

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