The fire outbreak that occured at the famous Dugbe market in Ibadan led to the loss of goods worth millions of naira.
Scores of shops and an adjoining building on Lebanon Street, Dugbe, Ibadan, were gutted in a fire incident, on Wednesday afternoon.
It was learnt that the fire which lasted for about two hours burnt down thousands of fridges, mattresses, beddings, bags, shoes, electronics, wares that they had stocked for sales.
The fire also burnt a car parked in front of the stalls with the owner said to have gone into the nearby United Bank for Africa (UBA), Dugbe branch, to make some transaction.
Eyewitnesses who spoke with Nigerian Tribune reported that the fire was ignited from one of the shops where a welder was carrying out welding works as part of the shop owner’s plan to demarcate his shop.
They explained that the inferno began with the wire of the welding machine beginning to melt, followed by a spark that subsequently led to an uncontrollable fire.
Giving his account of the incident, one of the shop owners, Wale Adepoju said, “The fire started minutes past 1pm. The fire came from the shop of a man who in a bid to demarcate his shop into two invited a welder to do some welding work. A spark was ignited while the welder was working resulting in the inferno.”
Speaking in the same vein, another worker in the area, Mr Ale Oladele also fingered the welding work in one of the shops for the fire.
“The shop owner down there (pointing) had invited a welder. While he welder was working, his wire was melting; he tried to get water to quench the fire but the fire kept on expanding until it went out of hand and he ran away. At least 40 shops have been burnt in this incident,” Oladele said.
It took the combined efforts of the shop owners in Dugbe, the fire fighters of the nearby Central Bank of Nigeria, Ibadan branch and men of the Oyo State Fire Service to quench the fire.
Chief Fire Officer, Oyo State Fire Service, Adewuyi Moshood, who led men of the state fire service to the scene, attributed the extent of damage to the time lag before they were notified of the incident.
He held that the state fire service should be people’s first point of call, rather than calling them after they had exerted their personal efforts to no avail.
“It is unfortunate that the fire started in the afternoon and we were not called to time. When we were called, we could see the smoke right from the State Secretariat.
“That showed that the fire was well alight before they remembered to call the fire service. We believe such delay in informing us is only excusable if it happens during the night.
“They probably had been trying their best and only called us when things had got out of hand.
“I appeal to residents to call the fire service immediately fire occurs, while they also apply their personal efforts and that will prevent a lot of damage.
“Here, for example, millions of naira is already gone here. Even during the lockdown, the fire service is on ground to respond to emergency calls so whenever incidents like this occur, the fire service should be notified on time,” Adewuyi said.