James Sowole in Akure
Property worth millions of naira were destroyed by an early morning fire, which engulfed the Rate Office of the Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State and over 100 other lock-up shops located near the palace of the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo.
The inferno, which THISDAY learnt started at about 12:45am, also destroyed the Akure office of the National Museum located opposite the Post Office in the state capital.
The affected shops were mainly business centres where different secretarial services were being provided.
Some of the properties destroyed in the three affected shops and offices included air conditioners, photocopy machines, different sizes of generators, spiral binding machines, motorcycles, computers, stationery tables and chairs.
Though, the source of the inferno could not be ascertained at the time of filing this report, but some people said it might be as a result of power surge.
Several shop owners have started counting their loses just as they called on the state government to assist them.
The President, Association of Office Documents and Computers, Mrs Elizabeth Orogun, described the fire incident as unfortunate.
“Over 100 shops were destroyed. Computers, generators, photocopying machine, camera, and clothes among other items were destroyed by the inferno,” she said.
Orogun said none of them could salvage anything from the rubbles as all their working tools were totally destroyed.
“I heard there was electricity around 12:30 am. Maybe there was power surge and it led to the fire, I cannot say.
“When people raised the alarm and ran to the fire service, the people of duty said they did not have fuel in their vehicle and water to put off the fire.
“Government should please come to our aid because some of us have children at the university and we have no other means of getting money, all that we have have been gutted by fire,” she said.
Also, the Curator of the National Museum, Mr Ogunmola Dada Nathaniel, described the fire incident as a national calamity as it affected parts of the museum and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
According to him, he received a distress call around 1am from the security and he rushed to the scene only to find parts of the museum gutted by fire. He said the effect of the fire incident could have been mitigated if the state Fire Service had come to the place.
He said it took the effort of the traditional ruler of the town, Oba Aladetoyinbo, before the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN) Fire Service came and put out the fire.
Speaking on the incident, the Youth Leader of Akure community Tuyi Adekambi said: “The inferno started around 1am as a result of a power surge. If we have functioning fire service in the state, the damage could not have been that much.
“For almost three hours, the fire service could not get to the scene of the fire incident and it was the Fire Brigade of FANN that came to rescue the situation, else the inferno would have reached the Deji’s palace.
“Government should be in a position to purchase vehicles for the fire service for each senatorial districts in the state.”