• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

N54bn properties lost to fire in Lagos in 3 years  

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Properties valued at N54 billion had been lost to fire in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic centre, in the last three years.
Statistics from the Lagos State Fire and Safety Services show the losses were higher in 2012 compared to 2013 and 2014. According to the statistics, in 2012 alone, properties valued N39 billion were destroyed while in 2014, a total of N14.99 billion worth of properties were consumed in various disasters that hit the commercial city.
However, in 2013, the fire service claimed properties worth N106.44 billion were saved, but was silent on the value of properties destroyed in that year. And except tight measures are put in place, there are indications more losses are likely in 2015 going by the number of fire outbreaks already recorded in the state. Between January 1 and now several fire incidents have occurred in the state with losses estimated at billions of naira including four lives. Among these are the Balogun Market fire on Lagos Island, Oko Baba Sawmill in Ebute Meta and another in Igando area where four houses were razed this last Monday.
Razaq Fadipe, the director of the state fire service in an interview with BusinessDay, Wednesday, attributed nearly all of the fire outbreaks to human error, saying, “It is not harmattan that causes fire, but human error. Harmatan causes the fire to spread faster because of the dry wind.”
The statistics indicates that 2,342 fire cases occurred in 2012, most of them in residential buildings while goods worth about N139 billion were saved in that year “through the quick response of officials of the state fire service”.
In 2013, the statistics show that a total of 1,774 fire outbreaks occurred. The fire service acknowledged there were massive losses to fire in the year, claiming the losses were difficult to quantify. In 2014, the value of goods lost to fire in the state was put at N14.99 billion while N89.94 billion worth of properties were saved from about 1,499 fire cases recorded between January and November.
Fadipe, who admitted there are challenges bordering on easy access of firefighters to scenes of fire due to congestion and the attitudes of the residents, said public enlightenment is continuing aimed at reducing incidences of fire in the state.
“Most of these fire incidents are caused by human error. There is harmattan now, but it does not spark off fire on its own. Residents need to avoid habits that put their lives and properties at the risk of fire.
“Currently, we are strengthening enlightenment using various avenues and the media on the need for residents to take precautions against fire outbreaks and what they can do in emergency situations. They should memorise the emergency numbers – 767 and call the fire service immediately there is an outbreak of fire whether or not they can put out the fire,” he said.
The state government in December 2014 strengthened the capacity of the fire service to contain fire outbreaks with the deployment of modern fire equipment.
 
 JOSHUA BASSEY