Business owners weep as fire razes warehouses in Osun

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BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

Uba Group

Tragedy struck at the early hours of Thursday in Osogbo, capital of Osun State when fire razed two ware houses and destroyed multimillion naira goods.

It was gathered that the inferno started in one of the two-storey buildings at Alekuwodo Area of Osogbo around 2:00am where mattresses were kept and other part of the floors were occupied by people who use it for residential purposes.

It was learnt that fire started from the warehouse where the mattresses were kept before it spread to the whole house.

The fire disaster became more tragic when the fire engulfed another two-storey building housing furniture and decoration designs which is close to the mattress warehouse.

The fire destroyed goods in the two warehouses and also caused the collapse of one of the buildings.

Residents living around the two burning buildings vacated their houses, hurriedly and evacuated their belongings in case of any eventuality of fire from the warehouses spreading to theirs.

Others had made efforts to get water around in a bid to reduce the intensity of the furnace while they expected fire fighters.

Officials of Federal and State Fire Services were said to have arrived the scene of the fire incident few minutes after the outbreak.

After some hours of efforts, they were able to put out the fire as sympathisers and traders around, salvaged some goods.

A resident of the neighbourhood who claimed to have witnessed the incident as from 5:00am and identified himself as Abidemi said a child had discovered the burning warehouse before he raised an alarm.

Abidemi said, “The fire started around 2:00am in the middle of the night. My sister is living in one of the floors of the first warehouse and one of her children had gone to urinate before the boy discover fire in the house. My sister quickly called me because I am living around Oke-Fia.”

She said her sister, who is one of the occupants of the first affected building, lost her properties to the inferno and urged the state government and other kind-hearted individuals to assist her and other victims financially.

“I want the state government to pity us and help us with anything in their capacity. All my sister’s properties in the house were burnt by the fire,” Abidemi pleaded.

When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Federal Fire Service in Osogbo, Lilian Tokode, confirmed the incident, saying the situation was still under control and that fire fighters were still battling the fire as at 4:30pm when our correspondent visited the scene.

Tokode said the fire was caused by electricity surge in one of the buildings, adding that, “the situation is still under control, our men are not back to station yet.The cause of the fire incident is electric surge and the address of the affected buildings are Akindeko Market in Alekuwodo. It is a fire confined to two storey buildings which are well alighted.”

Also speaking during an interview with our correspondent at the scene of the fire, the Chief Superintendent of Corps, National Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Toyin Abioye said said personnel provided support to fire fighters to ensure that the disaster was not out of control.

Abioye said, “I got a call from headquarters that there is fire outbreak around 2am. Immediately, I called some of my men, we rushed down to this (Alekuwodo) place. On getting here, we have men of Federal Fire Service and Osun State Fire Service on ground to put out the fire. We supported them to ensure that the fire does not go out of control.”

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He noted that the fire was very serious but no casualty was recorded as hundreds of million goods were destroyed.

Meanwhile, some of the affected business owners and residents wept profusely and lamented their losses.

One of the wives of the owners of the warehouses was said to have lost consciousness the moment she sighted the building being destroyed by fire alongside the wares therein.

She was said to have been rushed to an undisclosed hospital.

In a chat with one of the workers at one of the warehouses bearing Art deco furniture, interiors, electronics, he said the warehouse was stocked on Wednesday with latest designs running to millions of naira adding that not so much goods were salvaged in the fire.

“This is a big loss to my boss. I wonder how he would cope now because out of the branches, this one is the biggest. We just stocked latest designs and wares in preparation for the yuletide seasons.

“I was just called this morning that our office has been burnt by fire. I don’t even know where to start from now because this means there is no more work for me. Our boss fainted because of this and she has been taken to a hospital,” he said.

Our correspondent observed that an excavator was brought to the affected buildings for total demolition of the collapsed structures.

The fire fighters were still on ground on Thursday evening in order to put out the fire burning underneath the building after the demolition.