Fire devastates Lagos community, plastic firm

A number of fire incidents swept through Lagos at the weekend, causing misery to the residents and destroying goods and property worth hundreds of millions of naira.
An early morning inferno on Sunday devastated the Rida National Plastics Limited, located within the Ilupeju Industrial Estate. Goods and equipment worth hundreds of millions of naira went up in flames in the inferno. No lives were lost in the fire, but the factory was extensively damaged.
On Sunday evening, Okobaba Sawmill in Ebute Meta also went up in flames. Fire fighters and emergency workers were battling to curtail the fire at then time of going to press.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
Spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye said 57 fire incidents were recorded in Lagos and Ogun States over the weekend. 
Director of Lagos State Fire Service, Razak Fadipe, said he got a distress call about a fire outbreak at Rida Plastics and that he quickly despatched a fire truck from the Ilupeju office. He said on getting to the scene, it was discovered that the fire was raging furiously. 
“We had to call for more trucks. We got two more from Alausa and one from Sari-Iganmu. We also deployed trucks from Ikeja, Isolo and Agege. In all, six fire trucks were deployed to battle the fire,” Fadipe stated.
Daily Sun learnt that it took about four hours before the inferno could be put under control. The reporter could not independently ascertain how the fire started. But a worker in the company, who wouldn’t want his name in print, said the fire started at about 7.00am from a bush fire at the back of the factory.
Some of the sympathisers said a fire from a bush at the back of the factory spread to the premises and became uncontrollable.
It was gathered that the inferno was able to spread rapidly from the raw material section to the recycling area. A number of giant machines and other equipment were reportedly damaged by the inferno, including the recycling machine, the grinding machine and the blender, among others.
“No doubt, the losses suffered by the company would be running into hundreds of millions of naira. Some of those giant machines that were destroyed were very expensive,” a sympathiser told the reporter.
The fire fighters, it was gathered, prevented the company’s giant gas plant from being destroyed, just as a nearby water-producing factory was saved after the fire-fighters broke the wall and damped the premises.
Fadipe urged members of the public to be more careful these days as a result of the current harmattan being experienced in Lagos and some other parts of the country. He noted that the past weekend was particularly busy, with 19 fire alarms raised and responded to on Friday just as 18 others were responded to on Saturday. He said so far, four distress calls had been received on Sunday.
He said the incident at Rida Plastics was a huge one, noting that the factory occupied about three acres of land. He explained that the premises were filled with very highly combustible petrochemical materials, with battery casings, heaps of plastic materials as well as other raw materials occupying every available space.

While blaming the quick spread of the fire to unsafe practices, spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye, said it was unfortunate that a big company like Rida Plastics had no water hydrant, no mini fire station and no fire marshals. He, however, informed that when NEMA received the distress call, the agency was able to mobilise and join other emergency managers to combat the flame.
The NEMA spokesman said emergency agencies in Ogun and Lagos states had, between Friday and Sunday afternoon, attended to about 50 different disasters, including the inferno at Rida Plastics. He informed that there were other incidents, including a car fire on the Sagamu-Abeokuta Road and a wild bush fire at Ipokia in Ogun State. He said five deaths were recorded in the incidents, even though he asserted that there were no deaths in the inferno at Rida Plastics.
Farinloye warned Nigerians, especially owners of private business concerns and factory operators and tanker drivers to be more conscious about safety and guard against unsafe practices, especially with the new phase of the dry season coming up.
Parents and schools should educate children and the elderly to know basic unsafe actions, he advised. There was pandemonium on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, as the fire raged, with hundreds of Oshodi, Ilupeju and Anthony residents, trooping to the site. Officials of NEMA, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and the police were on ground to manage the crowd.

Fire devastates Lagos community, plastic firm Fire devastates Lagos community, plastic firm Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Monday, 20 February 2017 Rating: 5

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