24th December, 2018
An eye witness to the fire that gutted about 25 shops attached to the palace of the Elekunpa of Ekunpa, Oba Kosoko, Kazeem, in the Shibiri area of Ojo Local Government Area, Lagos State, has attributed the cause of fire to a boy who, he said, was pouring fuel into a working generator.
This, according to Punch, led to an explosion that caused all the shops attached to the palace to be burnt.
The witness said, “Around 2pm, one of the boys employed at the Bet9ja shop was pouring fuel into a generator when the generator and the keg of petrol caught fire. Out of fear, he threw the keg away and ran for safety; and it was that burning keg that attracted another generator, before the fire spread to the food vendor, who was using gas to cook. It was when the fire got in contact with the gas that the whole place exploded and the inferno got out of control.
“The fire burnt the whole shops, including the goods stacked in them; all my goods were burnt, because I was completely unaware that my shop and many other had been affected from behind. But when we noticed the fire, some boys got water to put it out, while others climbed the rooftop and started cutting planks that could attract fire. And that was how they prevented it from spreading to the palace building. I lost goods worth over N100, 000, but a man who sells flour here lost goods worth over N5m.”
A food vendor, Selina Samson , whose shop was located beside the Bet9ja shop, said the fire made her to lose valuables worth over N1.4m.
The Ogun State indigene said, “I was in the shop washing the meat we bought from the market when I heard an explosion. When I looked outside, I saw that the generator we were using had caught fire and it had spread into my shop located beside the Bet9ja shop.
“Immediately, I and my workers fled the scene of the fire. I lost properties worth over N1.4m to the incident; I want the government to come to our aid, because I don’t know where to start from.”
One of the injured victims, Asuramu Temitope, who was working in the Bet9ja shop when the fire started, said she was to quit the job this month before the fire incident, which made her to suffer severe burns.
The 24-year-old Lagos State indigene said, “I don’t know how the fire started, because I was inside the shop attending to customers; all of a sudden, I saw fire burning in front of the shop and it was coming inside. People who were inside the shop ran into the fire to escape, because there was no other way out.
“It was in the process of trying to escape that the fire burnt my face, hand and calves. I am going through pains and have spent over N40,000 on medication. I have lost hope already, but I thank God that I didn’t die.”
Another victim, Jenifa Emenalum, 21, said she could not walk properly because she suffered severe burns on her right leg.
A sales assistant, Abass Kehinde, appealed to the government to provide a fire service station close to the area, adding that distance and gridlock made the Lagos State Fire Service to arrive late to put out the fire.