By Bose Adelaja
LAGOS—No fewer than 25 shops and two houses were yesterday razed in an early morning inferno which razed a section of Sabo Market, Ikorodu.
The incident which was attributed to a power surge, occurred at about 1.20am when the traders had retired from the day’s business.
The prompt response of the state emergency responders was said to have prevented the fire from escalating.
A mild drama ensued at the scene as some of the victims blamed their woes on the non-challant attitude of personnel of Ikeja Distribution Company who supplies electricity to the market.
According to the traders, the company failed to respond to a distress call until the situation almost got out of hand.
“Before going home on Tuesday, there was high voltage which affected electrical appliances such as bulbs, fans and sockets, a signal that havoc will soon be recorded but the distribution company turned deaf ears to this.
‘’The office of the electricity supplier is very close to the market and we called their emergency number asking them to switch off the panel leading to the market but there was no response until the fire escalated and almost spread to their office,” chorused the traders.
It was learned that 25 of the 80 shops in that section of the market, two warehouses and a relaxation spot were razed by the inferno.
Some of the shop owners were seen counting their losses when this reporter visited the scene.
In spite of the presence of law enforcement agents, some scavengers were seen carting away some recovered items immediately after the fire was put out by emergency responders.
Eyewitnesses’ account said there was power failure in the market for a period of three days and a high voltage was noticed when the power was restored on Tuesday which eventually gave rise to the surge.
An eyewitness, Austin Daniel, said he received a distress call at about 1.25am and quickly rushed to the scene.
“I was confused when I got a distress call thinking it was a small matter and I rushed to the scene with two buckets of water but it dawned on me that it was not a child’s play when I got to the scene.
‘’Anyway, credit goes to the fire services who were readily on ground before me and many other shops were saved,” he said.
A combined team of policemen from Sagamu Division, Nigeria Security, Civil Defense Corps and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency were on ground at the time of Vanguard’s visit.
Some of the traders were seen putting calls to their relatives, intimating them about the development.
One of the affected victims simply identified as Sunday,who deals on provision, said he did not believe the inferno could spread to his shop.
“I thought I was coming to sympathise with others but I was shocked to discover that my shops were among the affected shops,” he lamented.
Another victim, Peter Mmahi, said he lost items which monetary value he could not immediately quantify.
Efforts to reach the distribution company proved abortive as the officials could not be reached at press time.
Lagos State Fire Services confirmed that 25 shops and two ware houses were affected, and urged traders to switch off all electrical apparatus at the close of business daily.