By MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
FOR 11 months in 2012, no fewer than 1,100 fire cases were recorded in Lagos state giving an average of 100 cases per month.
The report also showed that 195 persons died from fire related cases including 156 that died in the June 3 Dana airplane crash.
The report also showed that there were 70 rescue calls with 47 victims rescued alive by the fire fighters.
The state Fire Service was able to save property worth N146bn from being destroyed during the fire disasters.
The figures for December 2012, were still being compiled by the state fire service which sources however said witnessed more than 30 fire disasters during the yuletide season alone.
And this was corroborated by the Governor, Babatunde Fashola while speaking to pressmen after inspecting the extent of damage done by the firecrackers which exploded at the Jankara market on December 26th, 2012.
According to Fashola: “Two weeks ago, the state fire service responded to over 22 fire cases across the state during the yuletide alone.”
A breakdown of the fire statistics for 2012 showed that 137 houses were gutted in January, 166 in February, 172 in March and April witnessed had 127, showing a decline in the fire incidents.
In May, 136 cases of fire incident was recorded, 92 in June, 88 in July, 95 in August, 92 in September and 88 in October.
The record increased in November, as 116 houses were gutted by fire.
The report indicated that three people died in fire incidents in January, eight in February, 10 in March, and one in April.
In June, the state witnessed the Dana plane crash which the official figure of the death recorded in the crash was said to be 156.
In July, one died, two in August, three in September and six in October.
While in November, the fire service received 14 rescue calls from incidents such as tanker fire and other disasters while eight people died and three others were rescued alive during the month. And four cases of fuel spillage and two collapsed buildings were recorded.
The report further showed that properties worth N20.7bn were saved by the fire fighters in January, N20.9bn in February, N22.8bn in March, N21.8bn in April and May had N23.3bn.
In June, properties worth N8.2bn was saved, N6.96bn in July, N5.7m in August, N7.4bn in September and October N8.2bn.
It will be recalled that in 2011, the former Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture in the state, Mr. Babatunde Balogun, said that since the inception of this administration in 2007 to 2011, 4,724 emergency calls were recorded and attended to promptly.
Balogun added “We had 4,035 fire calls and 277 rescue calls. We also have 31 cases of collapsed building and 381 false calls.”
Speaking on the issue, the Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasak Fadipe said that the loss would have be more and the property recovered would have been less “if the state governor, Babatunde Fashola had not equipped the fire fighters with modern tools.”
“Only God knows what would have happened if the governor had not been so passionate about the safety of lives of the residents,” he added.
“Immediately he assumed office in 2007, he equipped us with 20 fire fighting vehicles when he came on board. In 2009, he bought another 10 vehicles for fire fighters.”
According to him, “Fashola has bought the state fire service an equipment to detect if anyone is trapped in a fire accident.”
“This is a clear departure from the old system of fighting fire in the state. The old system of breaking the burglary proof and the iron rods before rescuing trapped persons is over. We now have sophisticated equipment to rescue trapped victims.”
He noted that the “state fire Service is the only fire fighting agency in the country that has Dermal Image Camera, which is used to identify trapped persons in fire accidents.”