Property and goods estimated at millions of naira were destroyed yesterday when a fire razed a section of Akure South Local Government secretariat, beside Deji’s palace in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
It was learnt that over 100 lock-up shops were destroyed.
Sources said the fire started from one of the shops around 1 a.m and spread to other shops.
A victim, Ojo Owoeye, said he received a distress call around 1 a.m that shops were burning and he immediately rushed to the scene.
Owoeye said he lost over N2.5 million to the fire, which he said was caused by power surge.
A youth leader in Akure community, Tuyi Adekambi said: “The inferno started around 1 a.m as a result of power surge. The most annoying thing is that if we had functioning fire service in the state, the inferno wouldn’t have got to this extent.
“For almost three hours, the fire service couldn’t get to the scene of the fire. It was the services of airport authority fire brigade service that rescued the situation or the fire would have got to the Deji’s place.
“Government should be in a position to purchase vehicles for the fire service for each senatorial district.
“My advice to the state government is that it should not come here and make empty promises to the affected shop owners. Government should buy fire service vehicles for each senatorial district and fuel them always, in case of any inferno in any part of the state.”
The fire was said to have been curtailed by men of the airport authority fire brigade service.
It was gathered that computer accessories and provision stores were destroyed.
The President of Association of Office Documents and Computers in Akure, Mrs Elizabeth Orogun, told reporters that the fire was unfortunate.
The businesswoman urged the state government to assist the victims.
She said: “Over 100 shops were destroyed. Computers, generators, photocopying machines, cameras, clothes, among other items, were destroyed in the fire.”
Mrs Orogun regretted that the shop owners could not salvage anything from the rubbles.
She said: “No one could tell where the fire started from. We learnt that there was power supply around 12:30 a.m and, probably a resultant high voltage triggered the fire.
“When people around here raised the alarm to the fire service, they said they did not have fuel in their vehicle.
“Government should please come to our aid because of our numerous responsibilities as bread owners in our families. All our possessions have been destroyed by the fire.”