At least 200 shops and goods worth millions were destroyed on Thursday after fire razed some sections of the sawmill in the Jakande Market, in the Ikosi-Ketu area of Lagos.
This is just as a fuel-laden tanker went up in flames at the MRS filling station in the Lawanson area.
The Ketu fire, which started around 4am, also destroyed three cars, an office and a toilet facility within the market. Traders estimated their losses at millions of naira.
Sadly, the fire was caused by an electrical surge from two of the prepaid meters in the saw mill.
Most of the victims approached by Punch declined comments as some of them were busy salvaging what was left of their property.
A trader, lamenting his loss, said in Yoruba, “What do you want us to be saying when our property has been destroyed? About 200 shops and several milling machines were burnt. I just bought goods of about N3m yesterday (Wednesday) and everything is gone just like that. One of the burnt cars was bought a few months ago.”
Another shop owner, Waheed Adekeye, said he lost his planks and machines worth N5m to the inferno.
He said, “I got a call that the sawmill was on fire. Before I reached here, all my planks and three machines of about N5m had been burnt.”
A youth, who identified himself only as Shina, said he was woken up by smoke, adding that he escaped death by a whisker.
He said, “I am a tailor. I have a shop here and I sometimes pass the night in the shop. The fire started around 4am. It was the smoke that woke me up. By the time I rushed out, the fire had almost reached me. All my machines were burnt.”
A resident, Tunde Kolawole, said firefighters arrived the scene about one hour after the fire started:
“I live close to the sawmill. I heard people shouting, ‘help, help’. I saw the fire raging and dashed out to the scene. The firefighters came a bit late, but they tried their best.”