(Updated with Fire service response)
(Updated with the Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr Lanre Omolaja, response)
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Fire has gutted a highrise building at No 43 Martins Street, Balogun Market, Idumota, Lagos Island and destroyed properties worth millions of naira.
At press time, a number of casualties could not be ascertained as efforts were still on to rescue trapped occupants.
The inferno was said to have started from the middle floor of the building around 10.30.am.
When contacted, Director General, DG, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, confirmed the inferno in Lagos Island, saying efforts are on to salvage lives and properties.
According to Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, “There has been a fire outbreak at No.43 Martins Street, Opposite Great Nigeria House,
Onipede Central Business District, CBD. “LASEMA has activated an Emergency Response plan. All the key stakeholders in emergency management are on the ground. The operation is ongoing. I will keep you posted,” he told Vanguard.
Men of the Lagos State Fire Service were able to curtail the raging fire at about 1.30 pm, but the smoke was still billowing into the sky.
Addressing the media, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the emergency responders were able to put out the inferno due to swift response.
He said the fire was exacerbated by combustible materials stored in the building.
According to him, “Lagos State Government is committed to the protection of lives and property of citizens and would not leave any stone unturned to ensure that.
“We are going to launch a holistic investigation into the cause of this inferno with the aim to prevent future occurrence and sanction offenders appropriately to serve as deterrence to others.”
Also speaking on the fire outbreak, the Director-General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr Lanre Omolaja, blamed the incident on lack of safety measure on the part of the traders.
According to him, “The fire started about 11 am from one of the floors of the building and spread to other floors due to the compact nature of materials stored.
“The fire servicemen and other rescue team have been battling to keep the fire at bay from spreading to other adjoining buildings and floors.
“From our preliminary investigation, we gathered that the fire was as a result of a power generating set which burst into flames and spread fast to other floors.
“The high magnitude of the fire was solely due to the fact that the materials are highly combustible, such as textiles, mannequins, cables, among others.
“However, we will still conduct a detailed investigation to ascertain the immediate and remote cause of the fire. We have a team of experts on fire accidents who will do comprehensive analysis into the outbreak.
“We are also embarking on massive enlightenment and sensitization on safety in our markets, particularly at this period of Yuletide on the need to be safety conscious. We can’t afford to keep losing properties in this manner in the state. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is committed to the safety of lives and properties of everyone in the state.”