More than 54 shops went up in flames at the popular Ladipo spare parts market in the Mushin area of Lagos state, consuming steel, spare parts and cash estimated at over one billion Naira.
It could not be ascertained immediately what had caused the inferno, but some residents said the fire could have been caused by an electrical spark from high-tension wires near the shops. Another groups alleged that it began from a food seller’s shop who was preparing food at the time.
It was also alleged that a jerrycan of fuel stored in one of the shops aggravated the inferno.
One of the victims, Ogbonna Ikeguonu attributed the fire to an electrical spark and lamented that they didn’t only lose their stock of spare parts, “we lost a lot of cash to the fire.
“What we are hearing is that there was a big spark from one high-tension cable which ignited a fire in one of the shops, but we don’t how true that is. All we know is that we have lost a life time in business and a life time investment. It is going to be very hard to start all over again.” Our correspondent gathered that one of the traders who lost all his spare parts to the inferno ran into a vehicle out of frustration and is now in critical condition at a hospital.
Another trader, Fidelis Chinedu who has been working in the market for over six years said he had informed his master about the damage, adding that they had surrendered to fate.
“People living on the street were the first to see it and they started calling us. Some of us, who kept money in our shops, couldn’t get anything back.”
A dealer in shock absorbers and headlights, Mr. Sunday Ani, explained that he was asleep with his family when he was called.
The father of three said he had only stocked his store with new goods on Tuesday.
“The whole thing happened suddenly. As of Tuesday, I bought new goods that I didn’t even estimate the value because I planned to do that on Wednesday.
“I got here to discover that everything had been burnt. This is a terrible situation for me.”
The Chairman of the Ladipo-Osoro Traders Union, Felix Okoro, commended the Lagos State Fire Service for curtailing the fire.
Okoro said it would take some time for the market to recover from this set back.
“More than 50 shops were affected, and in these shops, we deal in brand new spare parts, many of which come in cartons. We lost goods valued at over a billion naira. We are devastated by this. If not for the fire service, who responded promptly, the damage could have been more.”
He appealed to the government to come to the aid of the affected traders to enable them get back to business.
Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, in a telephone chat confirmed the incident, saying three fire trucks were deployed to the scene by the agency immediately they got the distress call.
Another victim of the inferno, Mr. Nwazor said his shop is one of the shops that got burnt out of about 54. “The fire started round 3am and I was here by 3:30am. My shop was already aflame and I could not pick even a pin from there. Thanks to God the fire stopped by 10 in the morning because we called many emergency state fire service units. Two came from Alausa very quickly; if not for them more shops than this would have been consumed.
“This is the first time we are experiencing such incident in Ladipo market and we don’t know the cause of the fire yet. I am surprised because this is one area where women don’t trade; we are only men and our apprentices. We deal in Japanese and American parts including Cherokees Honda and everything have burnt to charcoal.”
Nwazor lamented that he just started life and vowed that this can never be the end of his life. “My goods that got burnt is worth N5.5 million Naira and I believe God knows why it happened like that.”
Mr Nduka Nwanna, also anther victim in his own view said he went home happily not knowing that such incident will occur. The security men who are always in charge of this area said they were surprise when the fire started and they tried their best to make sure that they stop the fire but they couldn’t and while they were trying to use water a gas bottle explored and the fire circulated all over the place to the extent they couldn’t control it. My goods worth of 1.8million got burnt am very sad at this moment
Uche Okorie in his own account said he believes that the cause of this fire outbreak is from those that sell food here in this market “and after this, we will not allow them cook here again,” he said.