A spark from an electric pole ignited a fire on Shogbamu Street, in the Bariga area of Lagos State around 5am on Tuesday as two residents, Emeka and Moshood as well as a 78-year-old grandmother, identified as Obasanya, were reportedly electrocuted during the tragic incident.
It was learnt that the fire, which destroyed property and goods worth at millions of naira, affected two houses and burnt five shops.
An eyewitness told journalists that; “Power had been fluctuating that morning. But around 5am, power suddenly went off and there was a spark on the pole.
“One of the cables fell on the roof of a house at the backyard and the fire started from there. A woman, who had gone out to urinate, saw the fire and raised the alarm, which created confusion.
“While some residents fought the fire, others called the police, fire service and the electricity distribution company.
“The Ikeja Electric said it was aware of the incident and that its officials were on the way. Some of the residents climbed the roof of the house to put out the fire.
“Emeka and Moshood were trying to put out the fire when they were flung away by the current. They sustained serious injuries and were rushed to the hospital.”
Tajudeen Bakare, an electronics dealer, said he had been operating in the area since 1974, and that his two shops which he newly stocked were destroyed, adding that he always switched off his electrical appliances after closing from work, saying the power distribution company was to blame.
“Right before my eyes, the fire caught my two shops and I could not do anything. The first big shop, which had gas cookers, refrigerators, washing machines, generators, among others, contained goods worth N75m. The second shop had goods valued at N35m. I lost everything. I am ruined completely.”
A trader, who identified himself only as Sherifat, said she lost all her property and goods to the inferno. “I just left my former house and I packed all my property into the shop, while I live with a friend. All I have left is just the blouse and skirt I am putting on. All the goods and property in my shop are gone. Where do I start from?,” she said.
It was gathered that a face-off between some hoodlums and officials of the state fire service was averted by community leaders after the firefighters arrived without water.
“People were angry that they arrived two hours after we called them. And they didn’t have water. The police and some residents had to go to look for water. Sadly, by the time they returned, there was nothing left to salvage in the shops,” a resident said.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, denied that the firefighters went to the scene without water.
“We didn’t have any face-off with anybody. We got a distress call around 6.16am and we arrived at the scene at 6.23am. We deployed fire trucks from the Alausa and Ilupeju fire stations. There is no way we would go to a place with three fire trucks and we would not have water,” he said.
- Punch Metro