A section of the popular cattle market also known as ‘Kara’ close to the Berger Garage along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was gutted by fire on Tuesday morning.
The correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that visited the market gathered from some eyewitnesses 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 NAN 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.
The Secretary of the sellers in the market, Adewale Akeweje, said some of his members had removed their wares from their shops before the raging fire became uncontrollable.
Mr 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.
Mr 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 11a.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 said.
Also, Tanko Abdullahi, a ram seller, whose stall was not far from the incident, said he was grateful that no life was lost, saying that “as far as there is life, there is hope.”
Similarly, Muhammad Shehu, an eyewitness told NAN that the fire was a mystery as no one could ascertain how it started, saying it was a bad way of ending the year.
Mr 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.
“The other two vehicles parked there did not get damaged beyond recognition, this one just couldn’t be helped.
“The owner came to buy ram and I saw him when he parked the car before I left the area for a while.
“The next thing I heard was that the area was on fire, how that happened is still a mystery. We thank God that no life was lost,” he said.
Also, the Assistant General -Secretary of the market, Sani Mohammed, said the cause of the inferno still remained a mystery to the market officials and the populace.
Mr Mohammed said the inferno remained a mystery because all investigations by the market officials and the Lagos State Fire Service revealed no particular cause as at press time.
“All I heard where I sat was fire! fire!! fire!!!
“Within a few seconds, there was chaos while everyone was running for his or her life.
“However, efforts are still ongoing to ascertain the cause of the inferno,” Mr Mohammed said.
Mr Mohammed said the market had never recorded a history of fire outbreak for years.
An official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who spoke to NAN confirmed that the cause of the inferno was still unknown.
“However, immediately we heard the alarm, we proceeded for rescue operations.
“The fire had almost been put off before the Lagos State Fire Service personnel arrived.
“We were supported by police officials on ground too,” the NSCDC official said.(NAN)