Fire guts shops in Ogbomoso, goods worth millions of naira lost – ‘fire brigade failed us’

In the early hours of Tuesday, a devastating inferno wreaked havoc on at least five shops located in the Oke-Owode area of Ogbomoso, Oyo State. The fire, which engulfed the Adeseun/Pivotal ICT Centre and various other establishments, resulted in the loss of millions of naira worth of goods and properties.

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Among the affected shops were two palm kernel processing plants, a business center, a furniture shop, a photo studio, and a fruit shop. Waliyat Mutiu, one of the victims, expressed her distress, stating that the losses could have been mitigated. She recounted that despite their efforts to seek help from the nearby fire station, which was approximately a kilometer away, the firefighters informed them that their vehicle was faulty and incapable of responding.

Consequently, the absence of assistance from the fire station led to over N50 million in damages, including containers, sheds, and various merchandise. Waliyat Mutiu, accompanied by her husband, assessed the extent of the damage and revealed that they lost 30 drums of palm kernel oil valued at N200,000 each, an oil extracting machine worth N3 million, and a substantial amount of unprocessed palm kernel.

Sympathizers made frantic attempts to extinguish the fire by fetching water from a distance, but their efforts proved futile as nothing could be salvaged. Mr. Mutiu shared his account, explaining that they had left the shops around 1 am and were subsequently informed of the fire outbreak. He also appealed to the government for assistance, highlighting the significant losses incurred, including a processing machine, the recently replaced rotor worth N600,000, palm kernel valued at over N5 million, and the destruction of buildings.

During the visit to the scene, the owner of the furniture shop, Adewale Opeyemi, was not present. However, one of his apprentices, Quadri Yunis, stated that the cause of the fire remained unknown. He lamented the heavy losses, which included furniture items, machines, electric equipment, ABF and NBF boards, plywood, wardrobes, and a container.

Similarly, the owner of the business center was not found at the scene, but her husband, when contacted by phone, expressed deep sorrow over their substantial loss. The couple lost computers, printers, color printers, photocopiers, and a newly purchased photocopier worth N500,000, along with all stationery supplies and their container.

The photography shop owner and the fruit shop owner were also absent, although some of the fruit shop’s merchandise was saved by rescuers.

Investigations conducted by ogbomosoinsightonline.com revealed that a firefighting vehicle provided during Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala’s tenure was taken out of service during Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s administration. Since then, firefighting operations in Ogbomoso have experienced setbacks.

Efforts to obtain comments from the fire brigade officers at Oja’gbo were unsuccessful at the time of this report.

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