By Idebaneria Cynthia
A late night inferno early on Tuesday morning gutted five of eight shops attached to a Union Bank building on 411 Road Junction, Gowon Estate, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Egbeda.
The fire was noticed at the make- shift shops at about 11.20 pm, shortly after electricity supply was taken by the providers, Ikeja Electric.
However, many of the shop owners had closed and gone home as some of them do not reside in the estate but those resident salvaged some of their goods with the assistance of the youth.
National Daily reports that the youth had brought down the fire before the arrival of the men of the Lagos State Fire Service from Agege.
Before their arrival which took about an hour, it was wailing and lamentations by the residents and sympathisers who urged the state government to install water hydrants and fire notices all over the estate.
They also lamented that some of the areas marked for the development of infrastructure for sports, fire service stations and recreation had been sold to individuals by the FHA.
“The areas meant for these purposes have been built up. The last is the Kuwait Field which used to house sports facilities, including football, basketball, tennis and others had been appropriated by land grabbers.
“It has now become a shopping complex cum estate within an estate.
“It is regrettable that the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government are not doing much to ensure that the youth have their future their own way,’’ a resident told NAN anonymously.
A resident of the Union Bank building, who does not want his name in print, reported that most of the shop owners did not leave in the estate, adding that. the cause of the fire has not been identified.
He commended the efforts of the residents, including the youth in containing the fire before the arrival of the men of the fire service who eventually quenched the raging fire.
One of the leaders in the estate, Alhaji Daud Oyebanji, also commended the youth for coming out en masses to contain the fire.
Oyebanji said that the youth ensured that there was no looting of the salvaged items from the burnt and unburnt shops.
Meanwhile, a dry cleaning shop, a mini cold room as well as a provision shop run by an octogenarian had every item in them destroyed by the inferno.
The Fire Service Officer who led the rescue team, Mr Julius Adewuya, said:
“We responded immediately we were called.
“The timing of the call was good because there was no traffic but we had hitches getting into the estate because of bad roads. The roads are near impassable but we managed to come for the rescue.
“Equally on arrival, we discovered that there were not enough notices for the people to know which service point is nearest to them to call.
“We appeal to the residents of this estate to invite us to enlighten them on when and how they could get timely assistance from the fire service,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) arrived after the fire had been put out but they also helped to ensure the fire was totally controlled.
Also mean of the Nigeria Police, Gowen Estate Division, were also on ground to provide security.