It was an awful Saturday for many traders at Olaleye Market , Shomolu , Lagos State , as a night fire razed 227 shops in the marketplace .
The fire which started around 2 am reportedly raged for hours, destroying goods and other items estimated at millions of naira .
Reports learnt that the inferno was put out after a combined effort of firefighters from the Lagos State Fire Service and locals around the market .
The fire reportedly sparked off as a result of an electrical fault in one of the shops and spread to the adjoining stores housing foodstuffs , clothing and irons .
A meat seller , who passed the night around the market , Azeez Hassan, told our correspondent that he was awakened by the blaze .
While trying to quench the fire , he was trapped in a fence , sustaining injuries on his right hand and head.
He explained, “I live in Ibafo (Ogun State) but I usually pass the night around the market .
The fire started around 1 . 30am.
I woke up and raised an alarm .
People joined me and we started struggling to put it out.
While we were trying to prevent it from spreading to another block , a fence collapsed on me .
“ We were on it when firefighters arrived .
Two of them also sustained injuries .
We were taken to the health centre in Akoka on the orders of the local government chairman
. But when we got there, the health workers said they didn’ t have drugs .
They prescribed drugs for us and asked us to go and buy them . ”
Our correspondent learnt that a number of shop owners trading in foodstuffs and provisions lost goods to the inferno .
“Owo jona (Valuables burnt )!” A trader identified simply as Mummy Bose , wailed, scrabbling through the rubble aimlessly .
“ I could not salvage anything , ” the middle – aged , woman who sells rice, lamented .
Another woman, who gave her name as Tope , said her provision store was affected, adding that her business ran on loans .
“ Who will help me now ?” She queried tearfully .
“ How would I repay the loan ? I am in a serious debt . ”
Chairman , Ijebutedo Community Development Association under which the market was located , Mr Fatai Adeniyi , said hundreds of traders were affected by the tragedy, adding that only few of them were able to rescue their goods .
He said , “ Some people said the fire was caused by an electrical fault .
Up till around 9 . 30am , there were still some pockets of fire.
It is a multipurpose market ; artisans , foodstuff sellers and provisions shop owners were affected.
“ The market contained about 12 blocks of lock – up shops . Over 200 shops were affected.
Shops where chickens are sold were not affected.
The owners were able to rescue them . ”
The General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency , Dr Olufemi Oke -Osanyintolu , said the agency received a distress call at 2 . 56am.
“ Upon arrival at the scene , it was discovered that the Olaleye Market located at Shomolu was completely engulfed in flames .
The Lagos State Fire Service , LASEMA fire team and the Federal fire service battled the inferno and prevented it from spreading to nearby residential buildings , ” he said , adding that cause of the fire had yet to be ascertained.
LASEMA boss stated that although no life was lost , “ property worth several billions of naira was razed by the inferno . ”
“ The fire was put out at 4 : 30am.
The agency has commenced enumeration and confirmed that about 227 lock -up shops were affected with unknown number of vehicles , ” he stated.
Meanwhile , a polythene manufacturing located on Wifunke Street , Ahmadiyya bus stop, Lagos , was also up in flames on Saturday .
The fire reportedly started around 7 am during production .
Oke – Osanyintolu said , “ It was gathered that the fire started from a section of the plant due to overheating of a production unit .
No loss of life or injuries recorded at the scene of the incident .
The fire was curtailed from spreading to other buildings around .
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