UK & World News

  • 9 January 2013, 7:17

Huge Fire Rages Through Lagos Lagoon Slum

A massive fire has ripped through one of the poorest suburbs in the Nigerian city of Lagos, burning down ramshackle homes and workshops.

Dozens of buildings were destroyed as flames tore through Ebute Metta, a community along the Lagos lagoon where sawmills process timber brought in from across Nigeria.

The huge blaze could be seen from the city's long Third Mainland Bridge, with people stopping their cars on the bridge to take mobile phone images of the fire.

Firefighters fought to stop the inferno after locals tried in vain to put out the flames with buckets of water.

Paul Apeti, a 48-year-old timber factory owner, said millions of people lived in the area and more than 250 properties had been burned down.

"Fire consumed the whole place, we were fighting the flames ourselves until the firefighters got here," he added.

It is unclear if anyone was injured in the blaze and Nigeria's emergency services have not commented.

The fire was the second major one in the city in recent weeks.

On Boxing Day a massive explosion ripped through a warehouse full of fireworks in a crowded neighbourhood in Lagos Island, killing one person and injuring at least 15 others.

Fire remains a major danger in Nigeria, where many people store petrol and diesel in their homes to run generators for electricity.

Lagos is the commercial hub of Africa's second biggest economy and is home to an estimated 17 million people.

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