By Esther Onyegbula
Barely a week after a fire razed down popular Amu Plank and Building Material market in the Mushin another fire outbreak has razed six shopping plazas at the Balogun market, Sunny Adewale Street, Lagos Island.
The inferno which occurred on Wednesday morning started at about 10 am from Anambra plaza and quickly moved to other plazas before the arrival of firefighters.
When Vanguard got to the scene at about 2:30 pm the fire was still raging even as officials of the Lagos fire service battled to put off the fire.
Vanguard gathered that the fire started when a trader was putting fuel inside his generator which was on at Anambra plaza. While he was still pouring the fuel into the fuel tank, the generator went up in flames.
According to Adaze Udo, whose shop was burnt and wares consumed, “the fire started when one of the traders was putting fuel inside his generator which was on at Anambra plaza. While he was still pouring the fuel into the fuel tank, the generator went up in flames”.
Unfortunately, he threw the remaining gallon of fuel which had already caught fire to plaza 4. It was from there the fire spread to other plazas, like plaza 2, 6, 8″.
Narrating how it happened a trader who simply gave his name as Chuks said I was inside my shop when I initially heard people shouting fire, I came out of my shop and took a look at the place, it was just small fire, so I went back inside before I will know what was happening the plaza opposite my plaza was in flames and the fire was spreading really fast.
I was only able to get a bag of wares from my shop”. Another trader Ekene explained that he narrowly escaped burnt to death.
According to him, “I was almost burnt while trying to park my wares, at a point I had to flee and abandon my wares. Within 10 seconds it has spread to other shops because of the PVC used as celling in the shops and the mannequin used to display clothes.
Lamenting Amaka Ikenna, a nursing mother whose shop was also affected said I was still trying to display my wares this morning in the shop when I heard fire, fire, immediately I ran out. Our plaza was the first plaza affected so I couldn’t pick a single item from my shop. I had to run for my life.
Sincerely I am tired of all these troubles. The other time it was only one plaza that was affected now over five plazas has been razed down”.
When asked if he was able to take anything from his shop one of the affected traders who gave his name as Okey, simply said I rescued myself alive. When there is life there is hope”.
At 6 pm, about six buildings used as shopping mall by traders at the Balogun market have been razed down by the raging inferno.
Most of the traders looked gloomy as they helplessly watched while officials of the fire service battled to contain the fire from spreading to other buildings for hours. Others who could not hold their emotions simply wept profusely at their losses.
Business activities at the market were also grounded even shops that are not affected are under lock and key.
However, the cluster nature of the buildings didn’t help as fire service found it difficult to access the scene. The fire service officials first had to create space for their vehicles to access the affected buildings.
Some of the traders whose shops were affected just sat down helpless, while some lucky traders were seen rescuing their ware as the fire raged. While some who were able to recover some of their wares were looking for where to keep them safe to avoid hoodlums from looting them.