By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Reporter, Lagos.
AS traders whose goods were destroyed in Tuesday’s early morning fire that gutted Brassar Fabrics building, a six storey building located on Martins Street Lagos and owned by a Lagos socialite and business mogul, Alhaja Fausat Fasijoye continue to count their loses, a revelation has emerged that the inferno has mystical undertone. Sources, some of who chose to speak on condition of anonymity described the fire as “yearly” adding, “It’s only last year that this building didn’t burn but even at that, there was a robbery incident during which expensive fabrics both belonging to the owner of the building and shop owners were carted away. What is usually the aftermath of either robbery or natural disaster on the building is that a life must be lost, and goods either carted away or destroyed by fire and this normally takes place at the end of every year. Madam would come out two days after to give away what was left in her shops to unsuspecting people and leave. Within days, the building would come more beautiful than what it was and all the destroyed and rebuilt shops would be fully loaded with goods again.” Another responded who simply identified himself Alhaji Bashiru claims that Fausat was a Muslim before she got converted into Christianity. To him, there was need for an in-depth probe by the relevant agency into the recurring inferno adding that though fabrics could be manmade and have lifespan, life remains sacrosanct. According to him, “Alhaja Fausat, because I still call her so even though she has converted, was a Muslim. I personally am not happy that close to every year this building will either go up in flames destroying properties and sending panic to adjoining buildings or the shops will be burgled by robbers. I think there is more to this because we have several other tribes doing business here in Balogun; they will begin to look at us Yoruba as fetish and wicked. Why should this be happening every year without people raising alarm? The entire ground floor has been converted into a church where people worship God and I know whether as a Muslim or Christian, God is not a God of confusion. As a human being, when one loses goods of such magnitude to fire or any other natural disaster, one is bound to be sober and retrospective of the loss but that is not Fausat’s character. She would just come and dash out the remains of the fabrics and simply say God knows best. And before you know it, the building would been renovated and the shops fully loaded. This is why we want Government to investigate this and put an end to the recurring fire in the heart of the state because sometimes somehow, it might spread to other building and cause more havoc.”
Recall that a yet to be identified Policeman and another persons whose identity has also yet to be ascertained died the following morning after a part of the building engulfed by the early morning fire collapsed on them. Several other persons were also said to have sustained varying degree of injuries in the stampede that ensued at the scene of the fire in frantic efforts to salvage some of the goods that were mainly clothing and foot wears that were trapped on the floors of the effected building. The monetary value of the wares destroyed by the fire could not be immediately ascertained as of the time of this report but sources close to the owners put it at hundreds of millions of naira. It was gathered that the fire started when a tiny smoke was first noticed at about 8.00am as traders were opening their shops for the day’s business at the fourth floor of the building and was mistaken for a generator fume; adding that it later degenerated into a thick smoke and then, full scale inferno. It was gathered that while shop owners scampered to salvage some of their goods, the fire soon entered the fifth floor and became much more raging. Curiously, before firefighters arrived the scene, it had razed substantial part of the visibly decrepit build and all the wares stored in some of the shops that were under lock and key as of the time of the inferno.
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