Fire Engulfs Lagos Market: 300 Shops Reduced to Ashes, Traders Left in Despair
In a devastating incident that unfolded on Wednesday, a raging fire tore through the Ladipo plank market, situated in the Orile-Iganmu area of Lagos State, resulting in the destruction of no less than 300 shops. The catastrophic blaze, which struck at midnight, prompted a joint effort by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and the Lagos Fire Service to quell the inferno.
Amodu Shakiru, the spokesperson for the Lagos State Fire Service, confirmed the grievous loss in an exclusive interview with PUNCH Metro. He dispelled speculations about the fire being triggered by an electrical surge, citing the absence of power supply to the market both prior to and during the fire outbreak.
The market’s layout consisted of five rows, each comprising 75 shops, and tragically, four of these rows were engulfed by the flames, resulting in the extensive damage. Additionally, there were other auxiliary shops whose count remains unverified.
Shakiru expressed that the inflammable nature of the merchandise sold in the market posed a significant challenge in containing the fire. “We are still doing everything necessary to curtail further escalation of the fire because the items that are affected are combustible,” he remarked. “You know that plank is a flammable material. We have begun evacuation of the debris while ensuring that the fire did not surge again.”
The traders, whose businesses lay in ruins, expressed their apprehension that the Lagos State Government might seize the land following the incident. The devastating fire consumed expensive wood, worth N1,800 to N2,500 per piece, causing losses amounting to billions of naira.
Rasheed, one of the affected traders, lamented, “The saddest thing is that some people just restocked their shops yesterday (Tuesday) and now all their properties have been lost.” Another trader, speaking anonymously, raised concerns about the financial hardships the traders would face, fearing that many would be driven into poverty as they attempted to rebuild their businesses. “You can see people crying because some people took loans to purchase these goods,” he added.
Efforts to obtain a response from the Director General of LASEMA, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, regarding the extent of the damage and the relief efforts, were unsuccessful as he had not yet responded to inquiries at the time of filing this report.
The aftermath of the fire has left the traders grappling with not only their financial losses but also an uncertain future as they await assistance and relief measures from the government.