A fire incident that occurred on Sunday at Ijomu Street in Akure, the Ondo State capital, affected ten stores while one of the traders was rushed to the hospital.
The victim, identified as Alhaji, owned medicine stores named the “Choice Medicine and Supermarket Stores” along Ijomu Street.
Basehitz Media gathered that the victim had on Saturday offloaded two trucks of drugs into the two stores but woke up to see them burnt into ashes.
Eyewitnesses said the victim, who is currently on admission in a private hospital, suffered cardiac arrest due to the enormous loss.
“It was painful when the man woke up today [Sunday] and saw that all his investment had gone into ashes,” the eyewitness said. “He was very shocked by the disaster. Immediately, he went into a coma, and by the time we rushed him to the hospital, we were told he had cardiac arrest due to the shock.”
Goods worth over N300 million were destroyed by the fire, which started around 2 am on Sunday.
Other shops affected by the inferno include fashion shops, bookshops, and electrical and electronics shops.
Modupe Daramola, a fashion designer in the complex who counted her loss, explained that she lost over 20 industrial sewing and embroidery machines to the fire.
She added that she also lost a power generating set and a big refrigerator, including clothes belonging to her numerous customers.
One of the youth leaders in the street, Sola Omorege, said it took spirited efforts to put out the fire after the fire service failed to show up, stressing that they could not rescue any of the items in the stores.
He said the fire service officers in the state complained they could not come due to a lack of functional equipment when a distress call was made.
While sympathising with the victims, a traditional chief in the community, Afolabi Fayehun, condemned the lackadaisical attitude of the state government to the series of fire incidents in the state.
He explained that several goods and properties worth millions of naira were being lost to fire in the state capital due to non-availability of firefighting equipment.
“It is supposed to be a case of once bitten twice shy. When we experienced this kind of incident at Oba Nla in the next street a couple of months ago, the governor was there,” Fayehun said.
“I think there is a need for the government to have firefighting equipment on the ground as this is becoming a recurrent situation where people are losing the millions worth of goods and property that is hampering the economy of the state.
“Why can’t a whole state have functional fire equipment? This is unfair and if a fire outbreak occurs in Akure, do we have to wait for Ilesha to come and rescue us?”