By Kunle Adedoyin
Fire gutted many buildings in the Balogun and Dosunmu markets in the Lagos Island area of Lagos State on Tuesday.
The cause of the fire in the two markets, where goods worth millions of naira were destroyed, had yet to be ascertained.
At the Balogun Market, emergency responders battled to extinguish the fire into early part of Wednesday.
It was gathered that a section of the razed building later collapsed and injured a policeman.
Counting her loss, a worker in the razed building, one Enaholo said the structure had been similarly gutted in the past, adding that the cause of Tuesday’s inferno had yet to be ascertained.
“I don’t know how the fire started, but my colleague called me saying our director said all of us should assemble in front of the plaza, only for me to see our plaza burning. I was told that the fire started around 9am and the Lagos State Fire Service, Union Bank’s firefighters and other agencies have been trying to extinguish the fire but they have not been successful.
“Both the front and back of the plaza are burning and we are surprised to see this kind of inferno. Two years ago, the same thing happened.”
Shop owners, who ran out of the building, were seen mobilising sympathisers to assist with the evacuation of their goods.
A shop owner in the market, Onyebuchi Okafor, said hoodlums took advantage of the inferno to loot the goods belonging to traders affected by the incident, adding that the state government should develop a way to respond to fire emergencies faster.
“When the fire started, there was no response from the fire service; we want the government to develop a quick way of extinguishing fire. We have lost a lot as a result of this incident. Although my goods were not affected, some of my friends’ goods were affected and were stolen by hoodlums,” Okafor said.
In a similar development, a building inside the Dosunmu Market, adjacent Mandilas on Lagos Island was also gutted.
However, emergency responders were at the scene to extinguish the fire.
When contacted, the General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said men of the agency and officials of other agencies had curtailed the inferno.
“There was a fire outbreak at No. 43 Martins Street, opposite the Great Nigeria House, Onipede, Central Business District. LASEMA activated an emergency response plan. All the key stakeholders in emergency management are on the ground,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.
“Also, there was another fire incident, this time at the Dosunmu Market, adjacent Mandilas on the Lagos Island. All stakeholders are on top of the situation to ensure that losses are kept to minimal level.
“The causes of the fire incidents have yet to be ascertained. LASEMA, the fire service and other stakeholders have intervened and have brought the situation under control,” he said.
Shakiru Amodu, the spokesperson for the state fire service, said personnel of the agency were deployed simultaneously in both markets, adding that the situation had been brought under control.
“We have not ascertained the cause of the fire in the two locations; we are currently ending operations at both locations,” Amodu said.
“We got a call around 10.03am and got to the scene by 10.12am and we have been on top of the situation ever since then. All other agencies like the Federal Fire Service are here as well as private agencies like the UBA and Union Bank firefighters, and others.
“We have been able to curtail the fire, but the terrain is difficult as we have conjoined buildings with narrow roads and crowd control is challenging, but we are on top of the situation.”