A raging inferno on Saturday night swept through the Makoko settlement in Lagos, burning about 20 housing structures, and rendering over 80 people homeless.
The incident was said to have also claimed the life of an 8-day old baby.
The Saturday fire which started few minutes past 8pm was said to have been as a result of negligence on the part of a resident who was cooking.
The resulting inferno which broke out engulfed over 20 patched structures, housing more than 80 people in the Abete area of Makoko.
Ripples Nigeria gathered at the scene, that a call was immediately put through to the Lagos State Fire Service. But upon response, the fire had engulfed over 80 per cent of the area.
While speaking with some affected residents, it was also gathered that the initial emergency response by the Fire Service was a failed one as their tanker had no water.
“The fire started from two buildings away from mine,” Tuga, one of the residents said. “The fire killed a small baby that was named yesterday (5th May 2017). The mother didn’t know that the foam where she kept her baby was on fire.”
Bashir, one of the residents who was at mosque when the fire broke out said, “we heard people shouting but we were not moved because it is a regular thing for people to shout in this area. And after the prayer I headed home and saw people gathered around my area. I saw the fire and it was still far from my house.
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“I rushed to carry my bag containing my certificate. I and my neighbor tried to use different means to stop the spread of the fire. Unfortunately our effort was futile as the fire did not stop.”
Busola, a stylist who returned to a burnt home lamented the spread of the fire incident. Busola who spoke with Ripples Nigeria said the poor response of the Fire Service could be traced to the alleged demolition plan of the area by the Lagos State government.
She claimed that the response was late, after several calls to them. “When we first called them, they said they didn’t have fuel.”
An official of the National Emergency Management Agency(NEMA), Yakub Suleiman who spoke with our correspondents said they were alerted by the Lagos Fire Service but ‘cannot confirm’ the alleged death of the 8-day old baby.
He also debunked reports that the initial fire trucks of the Lagos State Fire Service came without water.
“We are currently investigating the level of damage caused by the fire. As you can see, we are moving round to check everywhere. We got the distress call at about past 8pm from the Lagos State Fire Service, and moved in. We are not firefighters; we are just here to manage the emergency by coordinating the needed agencies.”
At the scene, men of the Lagos State Fire Service who seemed to be battling with their trucks, refused to comment on the incident and the level of efforts made towards salvaging another fire incidence in Makoko.
By Akin Obakeye & Femi Owolabi….
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