Lagos - One person died, while ten buildings and ten vehicles were gutted by fire at the Jankara Market, Idumota, Lagos on Wednesday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The fire, which an eyewitness said started at about 9:00 .a.m was caused by firecrackers, popularly called “knockouts” or “bangers”, which were packed in a shop in Folawiyo House, located at No. 45, Ojogiwa St., Idumota.
The Leader of the community, Alh. Olumegbon Isiaka, told NAN that one of the sellers lit a firecracker, which accidentally flew into a shop and detonated the packs inside, leading to numerous explosions and the fire which quickly spread to other buildings in the area.
Isiaka confirmed the death of a 15-year-old boy in the fire, adding that as many as 40 people, who were injured, had been taken to the hospital.
Among the buildings affected were Martins House, Folami House, Akib House, Gunsemade Plaza, Fashola House, Modupe House and Okoya House.
NAN reports that various government agencies and emergency outfits were on ground trying to contain the inferno which raged uncontrollably from one building to the other, while the firecrackers continued to explode.
NAN reports that the Federal Fire Service, the Police, the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Red Cross and the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA), were all at the scene of the fire.
Most of the shops in the area were securely locked, while some shop owners who came round, were seen trying to evacuate their wares, in spite of the restriction of movement placed on the zone by security officials.
Mr Sadiq Isa, who described himself as a coordinator at the state governor’s office, said that the explosion, which started the fire, was like thunder.
"We have not seen these kind of firecrackers before. They are more of explosives and the government should embark on a mission to rid the society of such.
"Any building found containing these fire crackers will be sealed immediately and anyone found with them will be prosecuted," he said.
The police bomb squad also took samples of the explosives and left for further examination, NAN observed.
Some of the buildings most affected by the fire had to be demolished, in order to stop the fire from further spreading.
Folawiyo and Modupe houses had been demolished as at 4:00 p.m,. while some others were in the process of being pulled down as the agencies continued to try to bring the inferno under control.