BY IFEANYI OKOLIE & MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
Lagos — No fewer than 150 shops and goods worth millions of Naira were Sunday razed by fire at the Trinity spare parts market in Olodi Apapa area of Lagos State.
Vanguard gathered that the fire which started around 3:24 p.m., might have been caused by an electrical power surge in one of the shops on ‘B’ line of the plaza.
Eyewitnesses who spoke to Vanguard confirmed that at first a thick smoke was spotted bellowing from one shop in ‘B’ line as Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, restored power in the afternoon before finally degenerating into an inferno that engulfed the entire Speed Well Plaza.
The plaza is said to house over 200 shops dealing on motor spare parts. An eyewitness and a resident in the area who identified himself as Amechi, told Vanguard that “this whole incident started when PHCN restored power here around 1.00p.m.
Not long after that, I saw a thick smoke coming from one of the shops on B line but I didn’t know the fire was going to be this big and spread to other parts of the plaza. Now the destruction is wanton.”
Meanwhile, some of the affected traders who could talk to Vanguard, expressed shock at the sudden inferno, lamenting that with the level of destruction, it would only take quick government intervention to help them get back to business again.
For instance, one of the affected traders, Mr. Izuchukwu Agwu, lamented: “I am finished. As you are seeing me here, I have lost everything I have to this fire incident.
“Unless something is done, I am heading back to the village and you know what it means – suicide. I sleep in my shop and I have no other business here.”
“I was lucky not to have been in there when the fire started; who knows, I might have got burnt. Now, what else do I have, I am heading back to the village tonight.” .
Meanwhile, policemen from Trinity Police Station were seen around the plaza providing security, while fire fighters from the Lagos State fire Service and those from Julius Berger Plc were struggling to put the fire out.
However, Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasak Fadipe, saidthe fire which occurred at 3:24 p.m. was fuelled by the inflammables materials stored in the over 95 shops in the complex.