Akure — It was sorrow and tears in Akure, Ondo State capital as over 100 lock-up shops located beside the Deji of Akure's palace were razed to ashes, partly destroying the National Museum established in 1987.The incident occurred in the early hours of yesterday at about 1:00a.m. in one of the shops along the popular Oba Adesida Market, which also destroyed the rate office of Akure South Local Government Area.
During the on-the-spot assessment of the incident, there were numerous generating sets, computers, accessories, provisions among other items that were burnt beyond recognition, while the victims stood wailing as they watched their valuables smoldering in ashes. It was gathered that the inferno grew wild after distress calls made to the State Fire Service yielded no response, as the personnel complained they had no water or fuel and their van was not in good condition.
The Guardian learnt that the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo, joined sympathizers to put off the fire in the middle of the night and later called the Federal Fire Services at Akure Airport, Oba-Ile, for rescue.
One of the victims, Ojo Owoeye, recounted that he got a call around 1:00a.m. that their shops were burning, saying he immediately rushed to the scene to meet the wild fire destroying their property. Owoeye disclosed that the incident happened as a result of power surge, lamenting that his property destroyed by the fire was worth N2.5 million.
The youth leader of Akure community, Tuyi Adekambi, decried the dereliction of duty by the fire-fighters, saying "the most annoying part of it is that if we have had a 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 and it was the services of Airport Authority's Fire Brigade service that came to rescue the situation, else the inferno would have got to the Deji's palace.
"Many people have been in hospital, they collapsed when they got here. Government should be in a position to purchase vehicles for the fire service for each senatorial districts in the state to avert such disasters."The president, Association of Office Documents and Computers, Akure, Mrs. Elizabeth Orogun, who described the incident as unfortunate, implored the state government to come to their aid.