By Lucky Nwanekwu
LAGOS—An early morning fire yesterday, razed several makeshift buildings in the densely populated Ijora Badia area of Lagos, rendering over 20 families homeless.
The incident brings to 45 the number of fire that had occurred in Lagos in the last one week.
Though, no life was lost in yesterday’s inferno, said to have been caused by a high tension wire which snapped and fell on one of the buildings, two children of ages six and eight sustained burns.
Report said occupants of the makeshift buildings were jolted from sleep at about 3am, following an alarm raised by one of them.
But initial effort to prevent the fire from spreading to other buildings proved abortive, because of absence of water in the community.
Desperate youths reportedly rushed to a canal close to the community, from where they fetched water to douse the fire. But before their arrival, the fire had reportedly spread to other buildings, making their mission impossible.
However, when Vanguard arrived the scene, this reporter was greeted by hostility from the affected occupants, who claimed they had been abandoned by government. The affected occupants further prevented this reporter from taking shots of the scene and even threatened to beat him up should he flout their directive. It took the intervention of the community leader, simply identified as Abimbola and three other elders in the community, to calm the agitated occupants.
Vanguard, however, gathered that men of the Lagos State Fire Service, arrived the community when they received the distress call. But they were said to have been unable to gain access there, owing to the deplorable state of the road.
The community leader said: “We do not have water in this community. A company had to demolish some buildings to erect a borehole. But when this incident happened, there was no water in the tank. The canal from which we got water was supposed to be drainage. But it has not been cleared for four years. Most times, our children fall inside. Two of my children have fallen inside. We are using this opportunity to call on government to pay attention to this community”
Efforts to speak to the affected occupants were met with brick wall as they hurled insults at journalists that came to cover the incident.
However, Lagos State Fire Service Director, Rasaq Fadipe, told Vanguard that the affected makeshift buildings were 90, noting that no life was lost.
Fadipe disclosed that over 35 distress calls were attended to in the last one week, where properties worth several millions of naira were destroyed.