Bodija market fire: Victims recount ordeal as fire service confirms 30 shops burnt


Victims of the popular Bodija Plank market fire incident are still grieving with the ruins of an eighteen hours inferno that left in its trail destruction of wares worth millions of naira while the injured persons are recuperating at various hospitals in the locality.

The incident which started at 5 pm on Tuesday caught the traders unaware as they were unable to arrest the situation until the timely intervention of the State Fire Services.

It was gathered that the situation got out of hand before the affected traders informed the men of the fire service. This was confirmed in an interview with General Manager, Fire Service, Mr Yemi Yinka.

According to him, “We got the hint of the incident very late but our men put up their best at ensuring that the situation was effectively managed. Our men were at the scene of the incident till 2;30am on Wednesday.

“We cannot quantify the losses now but no fewer than 30 shops are affected. The fire spread from one shop to the other noting the sensitivity of the planks to the fire.

However, when Tribune Online visited the scene of the incident on Wednesday, traders were seen discussing in groups, lamenting over their losses.

Another victim who simply identified himself as Tunde said he just came back from the market and he was taking stock when the tragedy struck.

He said, “the magnitude of the losses can’t be quantified but our passionate appeal is government to come to our aid.”

Also, during a visit to Calvary Hospital, Bodija where one of the victims, AbdulWasiu is receiving treatment for a second-degree burn, he told our correspondent that he was trying to quench the fire in his shop but he was trapped in the inferno, saying he would have died if not for the quick intervention of people who came to his rescue.

“I was trying to pour water to stop the fire through the roof, before entering the shop, I only see the flames unknowing to me that the fire is already inside, the roof fell off and I was trapped inside the shop. There was no way to escape. I was just rolling on the floor and the fire was following me before people came to my rescue.”

Another victim, Mutiu Olaoluwa who is a furniture maker said, “I was outside my shop when I suddenly heard the fire upsurge, before I know it, the fire has spread to two shops, the fire started spreading, the flames covered everywhere, I couldn’t take anything out, over 75 doors belonging to my customer was burnt, my N120,000 plank was also burnt.

“I lost over N5 million to the fire because all my equipment, generator, and machines were burnt, all I have been labouring for the past 30 to 40 years was burnt.”

Also speaking, Adeniyi Ogunmola said, “I was here yesterday around 4:30 pm, the fire started from a carpenter shop behind my shop, I went there to see what is going on, on my way back to my shop to carry my equipment, the fire came to my shop in less than five minutes.

“If not for people that carried me out of the fire, I would have died by now, I just came back from the market where I loaded a full trailer of plank and I lost about N6 million goods to the incident.”

The victims however called on the government to come to their aides and give them succour so as to save their businesses from total collapse as a result of debt incurred by the unfortunate incident.


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