Residents and shop owners in the Abule Egba area of Lagos State have yet to recover from the fire that razed properties worth several millions of naira in the area on Wednesday.
Narrating how she escaped the inferno, a 38-year-old widow, Ruth Joseph, who hawks food to support her three kids, said she sustained burns while trying to save one of her sons, Samuel, who was sleeping when the fire spread to her apartment.
Ruth said she was fast asleep when her younger sister, who lives with her, raised the alarm that their apartment was on fire.
She said, “By the time I woke up, the whole room was already engulfed in smoke. I was able to rescue two of my kids but by the time I came back for my second son, the room was completely on fire.
It was in the process of rescuing him that both of us sustained the burns.
“I did not know that our house was close to the pipeline; if I knew, I would not have rented the apartment. I came to this place when I could not afford the rent of where we were living when my husband was alive. I do not know where to start now, because all I have is gone.”
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, during a visit to the scene of the incident on Wednesday, picked the medical bills of Ruth and her son.
An ailing landlord, Adio Salako, said he almost died from the shock of losing his house to the fire, pleading with the federal and state governments should come to his aid.
The 78-year-old said, “I have been sick and away in my hometown, Abeokuta. I was called around 4am on Wednesday that my house had been destroyed by fire. I almost died from the shock but I had to take my mind off it.
“I thank God that nobody died in the fire. I will appreciate it if the government can help us to get back on our feet.”
A mechanic, simply identified as Musbau, lamented the insensitivity of the state government officials, for not visiting the victims.
He said, “Nobody from the state government has come to visit us. It’s not fair. It shows that they care for us.
“I have called all my customers whose vehicles were burnt. Some have been able to come and they could see for themselves that I was not the one who set the vehicles on fire. And those who have not been able to come, I am only praying that the Lord will help me pacify them. I am only looking up to God for help.”