Traders count losses as millions of naira worth of goods are razed in lagos market fire

Two buildings collapsed in Lagos Wednesday, while many others were razed at the popular Balogun Market in Lagos Island, as fire gutted a section of the market, razing property worth millions of naira.

Two officials of the Nigerian Red Cross Society and a fireman sustained injuries after the two plazas collapsed.
Preliminary findings revealed that the fire was caused by poor storage of fuel in the four-storey building in front of Oluwole Car Park on Martins Street.

While the firefighters were still battling to contain the flames, two of the already burnt buildings caved in, prompting the intervention of the personnel of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

Director-General, LASEMA, Dr. Olufemi Oke -Osanyintolu, confirmed the incident, saying that the inferno was caused by poor storage of fuel in the building.

He said: “On arrival at the above scene, it was discovered that a four-storey plaza had been gutted by fire.
“It escalated to adjoining buildings totaling seven in number and was contained by the emergency responders, that is the Lagos State Fire Service, the Federal Fire Service, and NPA Fire Service.

“All responders are on ground and progress is being made. However, no life was lost, as upon arrival, emergency responders combatted the inferno to salvage the situation.”

Emergency responders were drawn from LASEMA, the Lagos State Fire, Federal Fire Service, Nigeria Ports Authority Fire, Lagos State Ambulance Services (LASAMBUS) and the police.

Also on ground were the Commissioner for Special Duties & lnter-Governmental Relations, Mr. Paul Bamgbose Martins; the acting Director of the state fire service, Mrs. Magaret Oluseye and the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), who tried to keep the hoodlums in check.

Two officials of the Nigerian Red Cross Society and a fireman sustained injuries after the two plazas collapsed.
The officials, who were among those on the rescue operations in the market following the fire outbreak that affected 10 plazas, were hit by debris from two of the structures that exploded.

The fireman who was extinguishing the fire on top of one of the buildings sustained head injuries and was immediately rushed off the scene by his colleagues.

As at press time, the greatest challenge facing the police was the menace of hoodlums who took advantage of the chaos to loot shops.

While one of them was caught by soldiers, two others were apprehended by the police team and made to sit on the floor after they could not account for the goods with them.

Meanwhile, the Director-General (DG) Lagos Safety Commission, Mr. Lanre Mojola, has decried the traders’ lack of compliance with safety rules.

He said they had organized several sensitization workshops for the traders and even held one last week on the need for them to stop storing fuel in their shops.

According to him, the fire escalated because of the presence of petrochemicals and other combustibles.
Also, during his ongoing assessment of the situation, LASEMA DG said they were going to carry out integrity test for all the structures.

He said: “Any building that fails the integrity test is going to be pulled down. We can see that there is lacuna somehow. The government of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is doing a lot of things to ensure safety of lives and property but look at the lacuna: the attitude of our people is highly challenging and does not conform to the mission and vision of the governor.

“For example, they did not turn off the generator while filling it with petrochemical and that is what led to this. Eighty percent of them store petrochemicals inside their shops and it shouldn’t be. They need to abstain from all these.”

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