By Tajudeen Adebanjo
Goods and property worth millions were destroyed on Tuesday as a fire gutted a market and a residential building in Lagos.
The Nation learnt that no fewer than 70 shops were burnt at Alade market in Somolu.
Eyewitnesses said the fire started around 12:25 when electricity was restored in the market.
The timely arrival of the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service salvaged 101 shops in the 171 lock-up shops market.
Electronic, home appliances, food items and fabric shops were affected.
Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service Acting Head, Mrs. Margaret Adeseye, said the agency received a distress call at 12:55am and quickly mobilise firefighters from the Ilupeju and Bolade fire stations to the scene.
According to her, on arrival at the scene, it was discovered that the average land area of 1,944 square metres, accommodating 171 was engulfed by fire.
“The affected shops, which had various items including food, gas cylinders and other perishable goods were damaged by the inferno,” she stated.
She said the actual cause of the incident was still being investigated while suspecting that the spread of the fire was aided by cylinders in one of the gas shops.
Adeseye acknowledged the complementary efforts of the Federal Fire Service, Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) and the Nigerian Police Force in putting out the fire around 5:31 am.
LASEMA Director-General/Chief Executive Officer Dr Olufemi Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu said the agency responded to distress calls at 1.05 am.
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Oke-Osanyintolu said the investigation revealed that the fire was likely from a voltage surge when the power supply was restored.
The agency firefighters alongside the Lagos State and Federal Fire Services, he said, worked to complete thorough damping down exercise.
“Initial post-disaster assessment indicates that 70 lock-up shops have been affected while the extent of destroyed goods is still being assessed. The operation has been concluded,” he said.
The LASEMA boss urged Lagosians to ensure their appliances are switched off once not in use to prevent voltage surges.
Chairman of Somolu Local Government Area, Abdul Hamed Salawu, who visited the scene, sympathised with the traders over the loss.
Salawu assured residents that efforts were ongoing towards the construction of Somolu Fire Service Station.
This, he said, will be doubled-up to fight fire emergencies in the area.
He promised to install fire hydrants and giant fire extinguishers around major markets and public places in Somolu.
According to him, emergency management services are part of things to put in place for a commercial hub like Somolu.
Also, a fire gutted a building on 59B Omididun Street, Lagos Island.
LASEMA and other first responders arrived at the aforementioned scene and discovered that the fire outbreak was as a result of a voltage surge when the power was returned to the area.
Oke-Osayintolu said the fire has been put out and Damping Down Process ongoing.