Not long after fire gutted about 25 shops attached to the palace of the Elekunpa of Ekunpa, Oba Kosoko, Kazeem, in the Shibiri area of Ojo Local Government Area, Lagos State, business owners, whose shops were affected by the inferno are yet to recover from the shock.
PUNCH Metro observed during a visit to the palace that some of the victims had resorted to auctioning the remainder of their goods, while others, who had sustained burns from the fire, were nursing their injuries.
One of the victims, Eucharia Abu, said a boy was pouring fuel into a working generator, which led to an explosion that caused all the shops attached to the palace to be burnt.
The Imo State indigene said,
“Around 2pm, one of the boys employed at the Bet9ja shop was pouring fuel into a generator when the generator and the keg of petrol caught fire. Out of fear, he threw the keg away and ran for safety; and it was that burning keg that attracted another generator, before the fire spread to the food vendor, who was using gas to cook. It was when the fire got in contact with the gas that the whole place exploded and the inferno got out of control.
“The fire burnt the whole shops, including the goods stacked in them; all my goods were burnt, because I was completely unaware that my shop and many other had been affected from behind. But when we noticed the fire, some boys got water to put it out, while others climbed the rooftop and started cutting planks that could attract fire. And that was how they prevented it from spreading to the palace building. I lost goods worth over N100, 000, but a man who sells flour here lost goods worth over N5m.”
A food vendor, Selina Samson , whose shop was located beside the Bet9ja shop, said the fire made her to lose valuables worth over N1.4m.
The Ogun State indigene said,
“I was in the shop washing the meat we bought from the market when I heard an explosion. When I looked outside, I saw that the generator we were using had caught fire and it had spread into my shop located beside the Bet9ja shop.