29.02.2024 Featured ‘All My Stuff Is Gone’ — What Abule Oja Fire Did to UNILAG Student

Published 29th Feb, 2024

By Abimbola Abatta

When residents of number 19, Amusa Street, Abule Oja, Lagos State, retired for the night on February 26, 2024, little did they know that fate had a destructive fire outbreak in store for them.

Dolapo, a student at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), had just renewed his annual rent weeks before the fire incident that happened around 10:00 pm on Monday. Sadly, the student lost all his belongings, except his phone and a jersey, to the fire.

He told FIJ, “All my stuff is gone. I lost everything: my laptop, school documents and books. All my clothes are gone, as are my mattress and household appliances.”

READ ALSO: ‘I Lost Everything, Including N300,000 Cash’ — Lagos Ghetto Fire Survivor Narrates Experience

Although the fire service would later arrive at the scene to contain the spread of the fire, the rooms and properties in Dolapo’s entire apartment building were not lucky. According to Dolapo, the fire service’s arrival “did nothing” to save the house he once called home.

“The first fire service arrived 30 minutes later, while the second arrived about an hour later. I was very disappointed in their response rate because there is a fire service in UNILAG, and that place (Abule Oja) is not far from the school. I feel they could have arrived earlier, but they did not.

“Their arrival did nothing to salvage anything in the house that I stayed in, but they were able to contain the damage because it did not spread to the other houses. It was just the compound where I was staying.”

READ ALSO: More than Six Hours after, Fire Outbreak at Ladipo Market Still not Contained

Videos, which can be found hereherehere and here, show the destruction the raging fire left in its wake. In one of the videos, shouting can be heard in the background as residents attempt to put out the fire.

Regarding the fire, Dolapo said, “To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think anyone was injured. We all got out early enough. Household items were destroyed, I guess.”

He also told FIJ that, while he was not certain of the source of the fire, his neighbour had claimed it was a fridge.

“I don’t know what triggered the fire with certainty, but I heard my neighbour say a fridge caught fire and it spread like that,” he told FIJ.

However, the Guardian newspaper reported that the fire, which affected about 22 rooms in the razed apartment, was caused by candlelight.

“We have not had power for one month. We had been using generators. It was a little girl that put on a candlelight and within some minutes, we heard cries of a fire outbreak. Thanks be to God, only a dog died in the incident. But many properties and academic documents were burnt. We have 15 students here. About 22 rooms were burnt,” David Obalufe, the caretaker of the building, told the newspaper.

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Published 29th Feb, 2024

By Abimbola Abatta


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