Nigeria: Implacable fire rips through Lagos market

Fire ripped through Jankara market in Lagos Island, Nigeria’s largest city Wednesday morning and wounded at least 30 people after a huge explosion rocked a building believed to be storing fireworks, officials said.

The blast and fire led to panic in the densely packed area of Lagos, a city of some 15 million people, with residents jumping from windows to flee and others salvaging goods from their shops in the market’s neighbourhood.

Fireworks continued to explode well after the fire began while smoke was heavy and the blaze intense, making it difficult for rescue workers and firefighters to approach the scene.

Some reports said the fire broke out when a small boy ignited a firecracker popularly known as ‘knockout,’ which hit some of the stocks of unsold fireworks in the building.

Within minutes of the explosion, the fire spread to a nearby building, sending hundreds of residents, traders and shoppers fleeing in the usually boisterous market area.

No fewer than eight multi-storey buildings and 10 cars were consumed as the raging fire spread, aided by the dry harmattan wind.

Huge crowds gathered in the area, including onlookers and those seeking to help, according to news agency reports.

File photo: a fire scene in Nigeria

Residents rushed to help firefighters as they neared the fire, bringing containers of water and helping carry hoses, but the volatile situation made it difficult.

“We have treated up to 30 people so far,” Red Cross worker Nicolas Adesile told AFP at the scene, adding there had not been any reports of deaths.

One man treated for a cut on his leg said he jumped from his building to escape.

“I had to jump from the first floor to save my life,” he said.

Officials were seeking to confirm further details on the incident, with the force of the explosion so strong that rumours even spread over whether there had been a plane crash.

The National Emergency Management Agency said fire was believed to have caused the explosion at a shop storing fireworks. The shop was severely damaged and crumbling.

“NEMA has mobilised response agencies and volunteers to an explosion in a building suspected to be loaded with (fireworks) in the Jankara area of Lagos,” agency spokesman Yushau Shuaib said in a statement.

“Search and rescue officers of NEMA (are) having hectic time to reach the place due to traffic and crowds,” he said.

Jankara, home to a large market, is located in the Lagos Island area, among the oldest and most densely packed neighbourhoods in the city.

Fireworks are popular in Nigeria during the Christmas and New Year holidays.


  1. Ade

    “Knockouts”, firecrackers or whatever you call it is being manufactured in Nigeria but imported. Now the question is that were they conjured to enter into Nigeria by spiritual means or imported and passed through our borders or HOW? The government is to blame for porosity of our ports and borders. When the security or people that supposed to check any goods coming into the nation might have received bribe “egunje” so anything goes. This is why we have some stubborn terrorist entering Nigeria from Niger, Mali and some other neighboring countries without any check “too bad”
    People selling these products display their goods for sales and no arrest. People buy them and use them and no arrest so what are we talking about. Go to Ladipo market you will see how people use all these firecrackers without considering that people are passing, so bad indeed.

  2. Mayomi

    Well, what are they waiting for, they should ban bangers and knockouts. To me they are very silly. See how much damage has been done…
    God help us

  3. ariwa

    but me am thinking dat boko boko have a hand in it bcos everything they do is fire fire fire.

  4. D'law

    We need prayers, a sincere prayers for God to have Mercy upon Nigerians, It is high time, we turn to God and turn away from those formulated prayers, God cannot be deceived. The numbers of our place of worshippes/worshippers are increasing with speed and so the length of crimes are multiplying everyday, Letting God abandoning us to our faith. My prayer is, May the good Lord not judge us according to the level of our sin.

    May our faithful God console the concerns in the fire outbreak.


    fire works has been a contra band materials but i wonder how these items flooded the markets every season, but with some of the samples brought out those buildings i still wonder the type of fire work that will need electric wires and light indicator could be, i’m urging the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate this incidence.

  6. sezahsor

    Is there a day we’ll wake up without a calamity? God save us, why do we need fire works for? this waste of the highest level, the waste has duplicated itself, left for me, fireworks should be contra- band.

  7. Musa Liman

    May Allah save us from the calamities of the end of the Gregorian year

  8. CoolChux

    At least they will now stop the idiots who burn their income, alias throwing knockouts, from throwing things indiscriminately.

    It’s a problem caused by one person but many people will bear the burden for years to come. My heart goes out to those who’ve lost things and property.

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