There was panic among shoppers and visitors to Ikeja City Mall on Tuesday as fire gutted Mr. Price, a boutique located within the mall.
Other shops in the mall, such as Shoprite, Bedmates and KFC immediately shut down while shoppers were evacuated from the building.
It was learnt that the fire at Mr. Price was caused by an electrical surge, which later spread throughout the clothing shop.
Witnesses told our correspondent that the fire started around 11am.
One of them, Doyin Adewale, said, “I was looking at a T-shirt when I heard sound of explosion. Before long, there was smoke everywhere, and we had to rush out.”
A shopper, Eno Harrison, said many people in the mall did not know what was happening at the time until a fire alarm went off.
“I just got to the mall and people started to run helter-skelter. I did not see any smoke and I was really confused because I had no idea what was happening. But a fire alarm went off and we were all told to move out. They said a store was on fire,” she said.
The operation manager of the mall, Mr. Steve Idornigie, said the surge was due to a partial contact from a power point.
He said, “At about 11:15am, the store manager on Mr. Price reported the incident to me and emergency staff responded immediately.
“In terms of damage, no goods were lost neither was anyone injured. However some clothes got wet as a result of the water used in containing the fire.
Idornigie said customers and shop owners would be admitted for business by 3pm.
The Director of the state fire service, Mr. Fadipe Idowu, said the electrical surge ignited all the bulbs in the shop resulting in the fire.
When our correspondent left the mall around 3pm, it was observed that shop owners were gradually being admitted into the building.
However, workers and other shoppers were denied entry.
The General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the fire was put out before it could cause much damage by a combined team of the state fire service and his agency.
“The fire was apparently caused by power surge. Luckily there was no loss of lives and the fire was not allowed to spread. It would have been disastrous for the mall as a whole,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.
The incident is an addition to the numerous fire incidents that have occurred in the state in the last one month.
The LASEMA boss said the incessant fire incidents in the state had to do with the dry season, adding that the harmattan wind made it easy for a small fire to escalate.
He called on residents of the state to call the state’s emergency numbers -767 and 112 – in case of any fire outbreak in their neighbourhood. (Punch)