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URP00191 - ASSESSMENT OF FIRE OCCURENCE IN ILORIN METROPOLIS,


 

ABSTRACT

 

Fire occurrence in and around human living spaces is inevitable due to the twin inescapable human errors of commission and omission. Fire disaster could render a whole family homeless in a blink of a moment, a government building totally inhabitable and vital document completely burnt, and even sustainable private and public housing effort might be threatened by unexpected fire disasters. According to NEMA (2012), “ A disaster describes the situation where the occurrence of abnormal or infrequent hazardous event has impact on the communities, causing substantial damages, disruption and possible casualties and leaving the affected communities unable to function normally without external assistance’’. Nothing could be sustainably done to stop fire occurrence but the concern is how the spread could be mitigated. The paper examined fire disaster, the hazards, destruction of property and loss of lives. It focused on fire spread and ways of curtailing it through design and construction management. It also determined measures that could be taken to mitigate the impacts. The research methodology made use of primary and secondary data for its data. The primary sources were made up of field surveys, use of questionnaires randomly administered to relevant professionals and stakeholders in housing provisions. Secondary sources were used encompassing extracts from related literatures, journals, magazines and articles from the internet. The data were analysed using discreet statistics and presented in tables and chat.

The results showed that fire occurrence could not be humanly stopped but the spread through material specifications, using fire rated doors and windows, comparetmentalising building spaces and treating them with materials resistant to fire, and avoiding fire fuels in housing environment vulnerable to fires.

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.0       INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

            The world has in the past three decades experienced succession of disasters such as floods, fires, storms, earthquakes volcanic eruptions and landslides. Such incidents include the worst fire that occurred in Mexico in 2011, the Mozambican floods of year 2000 and the 2010 Chilean earthquake (Victoria, 2011). According to Dynes and Russell (2002), there is fast growth in urban places of all sizes from small markets to Mega- cities. The increased development interactions increase the risk of fire occurrences as well. Thus, all stakeholders especially users of the buildings need to be well equipped in terms of knowledge on how to prevent and react to fire outbreaks. Fire is the result of flammable materials being combusted and the essential ingredient for the propagation of fire is air, which is sufficient to start ignition or means of ignition and oxidation (Oyeyode, 2003).

For longer than recorded history, fire has been a source of comfort and catastrophe for the human race. Fire is rapid, self-sustaining oxidation process accompanied by the evolution of heat and light in varying intensities. Fire is believed to be based on three elements being present: fuel, heat and oxidizer. Fire disasters can occur above ground (in tall building, on planes), on the ground, and below the ground (in mines). Sometimes they occur in circumstances that are unexpected or unpredictable. All fire incidents can be divided in many ways depending on the cause of fire outbreak, but broadly there are two causes of fire (natural and man-made). Fires occurrence can be either due to natural or man-made reasons. All residential and non-residential structural fires are largely man-made. Similarly, all industrial and chemical fires are due to explosions or fires made by humans or due to machine failures. Firestorms can also be natural or human generated. Fires which are considered as natural are basically earthquake, volcanic eruption and lightning - generated fires. Fire caused by human/machine errors are considered as manmade fires, e.g. industrial or chemical fire disasters, fires at social gatherings due to Electrical short circuit fires, incendiary bombing, accidental fire and kitchen-fires. Rural and urban residential and non residential structural fires are also largely man-made fires. The slightest contact of highly inflammable liquid Contents, such as gasoline (petrol), paraffin (kerosene), or gas with fire brings explosive services of destruction, inferno and loss of lives and property (Adeleke, 1993). It was in this light that the Aqua group (1984) reported that there must be presence of three basic elements or ingredients of fire (ie, heat, fuel and oxygen) before fire can break out.

Fires have occurred in all provinces of Nigeria and in most of the sectors of the economy. In recent years they have been cases of fire disasters leaving behind irreparable loses of lives and property in Nigeria (Oyeyode, 2003; University of Gulph; 2003). The fire disasters have not affected only private household and market but also strategic installations such as bridges and hydroelectric stations. Properties worth a whooping N6 trillion has been lost to outbreak of fire incidents in Nigeria within the last five years, (Emmanuel 2015) has said. There are so many fire occurrences in Nigeria, in 2015 fire incident occurred few days after the New Year day celebrations in Balogun Market in Lagos Island. The early morning inferno razed six buildings in the market, throwing traders into a state of confusion. Officials of the state and federal fire service and other agencies deployed to the building to put out the fire.

In early September, 2015, another fire destroyed several shop at a section of the popular Balogun market in Lagos Island (Lekan, 2015). Only July 25, 2015, properties worth millions of naira were also destroyed when the sawmill at Ibereko in Badagry, Lagos was engulfed with fire. Although no life was lost in the incident, the inferno also razed parts of the St Anthony Catholic church beside the plank market.

Also Maiduguri which has been under invasion by Boko Haram insurgents and even men of the Nigeria military has not been left out of the fire craze this year. On May 15, 2015, while residents and motorist continue to grapple with a two-day 24- hour curfew, the global system of Mobile communication (GSM) market in the city was gutted by fire, destroying 14 shops with tens of thousands of handsets, laptops and other mobile phone accessories in Maiduguri (Lekan 2015). Another serious and memorable incidence of fire outbreak in Nigeria was the fire which struck the six – storey building of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) in Marina on Thursday the 19th day of June, 2008 (Odueme and Ebimomi, 2008). The Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) headquarters in the same Marina was gutted by mysterious fire around 5:30pm on 9th of December 2015 (vanguard news 9/12/2015). Also Ibadan branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was up in flame leading to loss of several vital documents on the 2nd of February 2006. In the same vein, it was reported in www.leadership.ng (2011) that fire outbreaks in Nigeria records 1,000 deaths and 7,000 fire accidents annually.

             Similar to this is that of a high Court judge in kwara state in the year 2006 in G. R. A. at Ilorin. There are five brigades in Ilorin quite all right but their machines (all) were temporary out of service. Loss of life was even reported in this case. This spurred the executive governor of the state to release money for the renovation of the brigade office and refurbishing of their machines for effective performance. Another one occurred where two students loss their live in University of Ilorin, Kwara State in 2009 as a result of electrical fault.

            The findings by many researchers, among which are Mogbo (1998), Anyawata (2000), Shittu (2001); Shittu (2007), Shittu (2009) and Shittu et al (2013a & b), confirmed the fact that fire incidences affect buildings of individuals, corporate organizations, government and government parastatals. The major causes of fire outbreak are electrical and gas faults, resulting in to financial and non financial losses. The incidences of fire outbreak and losses resulting from them increase annually as reported by these authors. In view of this background, the incidence of fire outbreak in Nigeria has become a threat not only to the citizens but also to the Government and this makes it a threat to national development. In the light of the above, Shittu (2001) studied the incidence of fire outbreak in residential and public building of Kwara State and discovered that the amount of financial loss due to fire on the average was about 4% of the capital expenditure (i.e. N14,548,694.00). In the same vein, Shittu et al (2013) discovered that the incidence of fire outbreak increases annually and a greater frequency of fire incidents occur in domestic rather than public buildings and that fire outbreak occurs more as a result of electrical faults rather than other causes of fire.

Table1.1. Major Fire occurrence in Nigeria.

DATE

AREA

CAUSES

INFRASTRUCTURE AFFECTED

NO. OF LIVE LOST

WORTH OF PROPERTIES

19/12/2007

International Tejusho Market

Generator

over 2,000 shops

Over 44

5 Billion naira

05/03/2008

Kuto Market of Abeokuta,

The capital of Ogun State.

Electric spark

50 market stalls

Over 23

3 Billion naira

01/03/2008

along McDermott Road in Warri, Delta state

Electric spark

part of the Industrial Spare Parts

Market

9

100 million naira

15/07/2016

Omitowoju area, Ibadan

Electric spark

Houses and shops

nill

500 million naira

28/08/2016

Kuba, Abuja

Unknown

Houses and shops

7

200 million naira

18/10/2017

Lagos-Ibadan express way

Brake failure

Fuel tanker

nill

200 million naira

2018

Otedola bridge

Brake failure

About 67 vehicles

About

84

About

1BN

Source; Nigeria news media, the fire service departments and the National Emergency Management Agency.

1.2  Statement of the Research Problem

Urban disasters especially fires in Nigeria are reported widely and frequently, the expectation that these fires will be put off is normally met with disheartening reports that these disasters have led to total loss of property and in some cases life, this apparent failure (problem) to deal with fires at ignition stage (when fire spread is low) till conflagration (a very large fire that destroys a lot of land or properties) is of major concern, rescue endeavours have invariably proved futile by the teams either arriving late at fire disaster scene or getting there on time but ill equipped and unable to counter the emerging threat. Therefore the problem of fire disaster in Nigeria urban centres has been of major concerns to both the government and the governed alike.

The rationale behind this study is to help show how urban and Regional Planning as a Profession can mitigate fire disaster occurrence.

1.3  The research questions.

The study sought to answer the following Questions;

  1. What are the socio–economic characteristics of the residents in the study area?
  2. What are some of the challenges faced with regards to fire management in Ilorin?
  • Have you noticed any causes of fire disaster in your area?

1.4  Aim and Objectives

1.4.1  Aim;- The aim of this study is to examine the remote cause of fire disaster and proffer preventive measures as well as designing  management action plan that will enhance a sustainable fire control in Ilorin metropolis.

1.4.2  Objectives; - Specifically, the study seeks to achieve the following objectives by:

  1. examine the socio economic characteristics of respondents;
  2. explain the causes of fire disaster in Ilorin metropolis;
  • evaluate resident’s fire safety plans in Ilorin metropolis and
  1. examine the adequacy level of firefighting equipments.

 

1.5  STUDY AREA

1.5.1  GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION OF ILORIN

Ilorin the kwara state capital is located at latitude 80 30 and longitude 40 35’ E. It lies in the plain of the south western part of Nigeria. The city which lies along Lagos Kaduna highway is 306 kilometers, away from Lagos and 600 kilometers from Abuja (the Federal Capital of Nigeria).

Ilorin comprises of three local governments (Ilorin East, Ilorin South, Ilorin West). These three local government forms Ilorin metropolis and it has a common boundary with other three Local Government (Moro Local government, Ifelodun Local government, Asa local government).

1.5.2  TOPOGRAPHY

           The main river in Ilorin is Asa River. It occupies a fairly wide valley and flows in South North direction.

           Towards the North Western part, is an isolated hill called Sobi hill which is about three hundred and ninety four (394) meters above the sea level.

 

 

 

1.5.3 CLIMATE

Ilorin has the tropical wet and dry climate. It has mean annual rainfall of about 1318mm. usually; the rainfall begins in April and ends in October / November. During the day it has a temperature of about 300c. The weather is always cold during the night.

1.5.4  POPULATION

The first estimated population of Ilorin in 1911 was put at 36,343 people. The 1953 census put the population to be 40,994. The figure rose to 208,546 in the year 1963 census. 1991 census put the figure 532,088. It is estimated that the annual growth rate is 2.84%.