Three vehicles and 40 shops were reportedly destroyed when popular cattle market also known as ‘Kara’ close to the Berger Garage along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway when the market was gutted by fire yesterday morning.
Some eyewitnesses told The Guardian that no less than 40 shops, five storage facilities, 20 residential rooms, and cash, all worth millions of naira, were lost to the inferno. They added that the goods in the shops and storage facilities include provisions, animal feeds, and food items.
Some of the operators at the market who spoke with newsmen thanked God that no life was lost from what they described as a ‘mysterious’ fire.
The sellers in separate interviews said they were grateful that no one died in the incident, which burnt many shops and three vehicles.
An eyewitness, Abiola Ajayi, said: “This is the third time fire has engulfed this cattle market in 2019 alone and we cannot blame it on anyone, except the traders. On a spot, you can find three different generating sets brewing smoke, yet you will see somebody cooking near these generators with gas cooker. They are the one spoiling their property,” she noted.
The secretary of the traders in the market, Adewale Akeweje, said some of his members had removed their wares from their shops before the raging fire became uncontrollable. Ajeweje, however, said nobody could ascertain how the fire started.
“The incident did not affect any life; by the time the fire had spread, some people had already removed their properties. It affected some shops and some living apartments there.
Personally, I don’t have an idea of what caused it, we heard that some people just saw the fire around the area where rams are sold,” he said.
Akeweje commended the timely response of the Lagos State Fire Service, from the State Secretariat in Alausa, which helped to put out the fire. “We were called around 11:00 a.m., that part of our area at Kara was burning. Before we got there, they had stopped the fire from spreading to other areas. The fire fighters from Alausa really tried,” he added.
Also, Tanko Abdullahi, a ram seller, whose stall was not far from the incident, said he was grateful that no life was lost, adding that “as far as there is life, there is hope.”
Same view was expressed by Muhammad Shehu, an eyewitness, who added that the fire was a mystery as no one could ascertain how it started, and it was a bad way of ending the year.
Shehu, while relaying his story about one of the burnt vehicles, said the owner had come to buy a ram for the new year festival, only for his car to get burnt beyond recognition.