A shop owner collapsed on Tuesday as fire swept through many shops at a popular Brasas Plaza on 43 Martins Street, Balogun Market, Lagos Island.
Four other persons sustained various degrees of injury.
This is the third time in four years the plaza was engulfed by wide fire.
Another market in Dosunmu, Lagos was also gutted by fire.
Property worth hundreds of millions of Naira was lost.
While the combined efforts of the Lagos State Fire service and the Federal Fire Service were able to quench the Dosunmu market’s inferno at noon, the Balogun market fire lasted till evening.
Brasas Plaza, a five-storey building, was stocked with clothes, bags and other imported goods on every floor.
The Nation learnt that many of the shop owners just stocked their shops in preparation for the December sales.
Eyewitnesses said the fire started around 9:30am from an electrical fault.
They said the attention of the people at the Brasas Plaza was called to the electrical wire that caught fire, but they rebuffed them, saying it was nothing much.
“Unfortunately, the light started where the owner of the Brasas Plaza placed two big electricity generating sets. Shortly after, the fire spread to where oil was kept and exploded.
“Before we know what was happening, the fire has become huge to the extent the shop owners couldn’t contain it,” an eyewitness, Abimbola Alao said.
The shout of fire! Fire!! brought many traders out of their shops.
Those who first responded thought it was a small fire until it extended to adjoining shops.
They ran back to lock their shops in a bid to return to help the shops’ owners put out the fire.
Their efforts yielded no results as the fire was gradually extending to theirs.
They quickly employed the service of several young men to help pack their goods out of the shops.
The boys were throwing the goods packed in big sacks down from the second floor to the fifth floor.
Thick black smoke and flames covered the whole area as fire trucks attempted to get access to the fire scene.
In no distance time, commercial activities were grounded.
The Lagos State Fire service came with three fire trucks to quench it. They had no impact on the raging fire.
Many ran to the nearby Union Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA) for assistance. Both banks brought fire trucks, they couldn’t achieve much.