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Wild fire destroys 4 high-rise buildings

Posted by By PHILIP NWOSU and MATTHEW DIKE on 2008/02/12 | Views: 373 |

Wild fire destroys 4 high-rise buildings

Over 15 people were hospitalized and about one billion naira worth of goods destroyed in Lagos as fire gutted four buildings housing the largest imported shoes’ retail market in Nigeria, popularly called ‘Back of Mandilas.”

Over 15 people were hospitalized and about one billion naira worth of goods destroyed in Lagos as fire gutted four buildings housing the largest imported shoes’ retail market in Nigeria, popularly called ‘Back of Mandilas.”

The inferno, which began few minutes to 6.00 pm on Wednesday was reportedly caused by power surge on the second floor of the Peoples’ Plaza, a six-storey building with an underground warehouse situated in Mam Ligali Street.

The fire was said to have ravaged another six storey plaza with underground warehouse, called ‘D’ Best Plaza before both structures collapsed after midnight.
Like wild fire, it spread to the two nearby buildings, a six-storey and a five-storey.

A man, who identified himself as Babatunde, alleged that one of their friends, Basiru, who was bringing out goods from the Peoples’ Plaza warehouse when the building collapsed, was missing by yesterday.

“We are still looking for our friend, Basiru. We have not seen him up till now,” Babatunde said.
Witnesses told Daily Sun that the losses could have been reduced had men of the Fire Service responded promptly when they were called.

A businessman, whose shop is located in the area, said when the traders in the building noticed a smoke on the second floor, the fire service, located close to Union Bank on Marina, was alerted but it declined to take any action, on the excuse that it had not got directive from Alausa.

The businessman, who was identified as Osita Egerue, said: “The fire started at about 5.30pm when some of the traders had left for home. We just noticed a thick smoke from the building and we moved enmasse to the fire service at Union Bank to alert them, but they said they needed a directive from Alausa before they could move.”

It was gathered that the affected buildings were used mainly as store for traders who sell jeans material and also as a store for shoe dealers and those who stocked Italian wares.
Effort to get the NEMA officials and the fire service officials failed, but officials of the Lagos State Emergency Agency (LASEMA) said one of the problems encountered when its men eventually arrived was the problem of crowd control.

Speaking with Daily Sun at the scene of the incident, the General Manager of the LASEMA, Dr. Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said controlling social miscreants, popularly called ‘area boys,’ was one of the major problems encountered during the effort to ensure that property and lives were saved.
He said: “The area boys were part of the constraints we encountered. We had to call in the police personnel to first deal with that before we could have access to the scene of the fire incident.”

Apart from this, the LASEMA official said that the accessibility of the area was another major constraint, adding: “The location of the structure made it difficult to put out the fire and ensuring that the fire was fought to a stand still.”

He said that goods in the various stores, which included chemical parked in the stores, increased the momentum of the fire.

“It’s a pathetic situation. But we are on top of the matter. Four houses are affected. Two just collapsed. A five-storey and a six-storey buildings are still burning,” LASEMA boss, Osanyintolu said.
The leader of the Nigerian Red Cross team, Ige Oladimeji, said that about 15 persons with injuries and shock were treated and discharged yesterday morning.

The Divisional Police Officer of Ebute-Ero station, Olatoye Durosimi, a Chief Superintendent of Police, co-ordinated security largely aimed at preventing looting and endangering of lives.
Victor Agu, a trader, claimed that he lost over N2.5 million worth of shoes. According to him, he had just arrived his residence, in Surulere, when he received a phone call that his business premises was on fire.

Joel Chiwelite, cried that he lost over N500,000 worth of goods and that his customers, who owed him over N200,000, also lost everything in the fire.

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.