LAGOS — Ijeh Police Barracks in Obalende area of Lagos, Wednesday, went up in flames, rendering 24 families of policemen homeless and destroying property worth millions of naira.
A riffle said to have been brought home by one of the policemen was also burnt.
Yesterday’s incident was the second in eight months.
Five other buildings, among them the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Halleluya Parish in Ikorodu and a market in Ayobo area of the state, were also destroyed by fire at the weekend.
Although no life was lost in the inferno at the Ijeh Police barracks said to have started at about 4.20 am, some of the occupants of the affected bungalow on Line A, Block 3 reportedly sustained injuries in the stampede that followed.
The incident occurred barely one week after a Police Inspector and his wife reportedly fell from balcony of one of the two-storey buildings in the same barracks during a fight.
The policeman identified as Inspector Daniel Danjuma, said to have landed on his head, died before being rushed to the hospital, while his wife was admitted at the intensive care unit of an undisclosed hospital.
Vanguard gathered that yesterday’s fire may have been caused by power surge as it started from one of the one-room apartments immediately power was restored. The affected block had 24 self contain apartments.
Efforts by occupants to contain the fire failed as it spread to other apartments.
One of the affected occupants who gave his name simply as Dennis, said all he managed to salvage were his certificates.
According to him, “I woke up with a shout of ‘fire’. I was alone in the room. My father who is on leave travelled with my mother. At first I was confused, I did not know what to salvage. But the only thing I remembered were my certificates. Before I could take the little money I had in the house, I saw the fire spreading and I had to rush out.”
Another affected occupant, Mrs Maureen Francis, who runs a restaurant in one of the blocks said she had barely retired after the day’s business when the fire started.
She said: “We left my restaurant where I sell pepper soup and drinks at 2.30 am. I had barely started sleeping when I was awakened by the shout of fire. We would have been trapped had we not rushed out immediately.
“All that my husband and I laboured for are gone, not even the little freezer I was using to sell drinks was spared.”
The displaced families, however, called on Police authorities to come to their aid by providing alternative accommodation pending when repairs would be completed.
The Lagos State Fire Service Director, Mr Rasaq Fadipe, told Vanguard that the first fire truck from Onikan station arrived the scene at about 4.30am while the fire was raging. He said another truck with 10,000 litres of water was drafted from Sari Iganmu station to the scene.
Fadipe said: “When we arrived the scene, the fire was raging as it spread rapidly to other apartments. In all, 24 one-room self-contained apartments were affected. We were able to contain the fire from spreading to other blocks. No casualty was, however, recorded.”
Six other buildings razed
He further disclosed that five similar incidents occurred in Ketu area, involving four rooms at 3, Feyintola Street. Also, a market at Ayobo garage; a 12-storey building on Gerrald Road, Ikoyi were also burnt. The Ikoyi fire was caused by a split air conditioner; the Redeem Christian Church of God, Halleluya Parish, located at TOS Benson Estate, Ikorodu and a building located at 43, Church Street, Alapere were also engulfed at the weekend.
He said the prompt arrival of fire servicemen prevented the incidents from spreading. He, however, disclosed that his men were attacked by hoodlums during the Alapere fire incident with one of their trucks damaged.