Rethink It With Ben My neighbour's flat got burnt last night and the fire truck came late

Reason quickly kicked in. I remembered I was allergic to dust and smoke. This was not the place to be a hero.

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My neighbour's flat got burnt last night and the fire truck came late play

My neighbour's flat got burnt last night and the fire truck came late

(Mister Beckz)
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Fire, fire. I woke up startled. Someone was banging on my door. There’s a fire in one of the flats upstairs.

I checked the time, almost 2 am.

There's already a crowd gathered. Two men were up on a ladder trying to spray the contents of a fire extinguisher through a window.

They quickly realized the futility of spraying through the burglary proof and decided to brave the front door instead.

Water, water.” Buckets materialized from nowhere. Filled buckets went in, empty ones were thrown down.

Water, water. We need more buckets.” I dashed back to my flat, grabbed two buckets. Filled one with water and went up the stairs.

I got to the door and saw men dashing in with water, I followed.

The force of the heat and smoke felt like a 50kg Mike Tyson punch and I reeled backward. If hell is any hotter, then this might be a good time to surrender to Christ.

 

Reason quickly kicked in. I remembered I was allergic to dust and smoke. This was not the place to be a hero.

I handed my bucket of soapy water to one of the men coming out and watched in awe as he dashed back in again.

"Water, water." I snapped out of my reverie, went back down to get some water. Taps are slow but Lagos gutters, thankfully, are readily full.

E bu omi gutter” (fetch water from the gutters). Buckets were dipped in and their contents emptied in their home.

Most of the calls made to Lagos state emergency lines was answered by auto responders.

A neighbor had driven to the fire service house in CMS. What about the fire service station here in Yaba?

Oh, that is just a display house. There ain't no service station on the Lagos mainland,” I was told.

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Finally, the police arrive even though Sabo station is a five-minute lazy stroll away.

The officer in charge makes some calls while his subordinates either stand rooted with their guns or snoozed in the police truck.

Someone asked what caused the fire and the general reply was “the enemy.” People were praying, some in tongues against the enemy.

This is the ember months. Temptations are rife and one needs to be spiritually vigilant.

Just as our brave men bring the fire under control, the fire truck finally arrives. Almost an hour after the first SOS call.

 

They came in a decorated water tanker. They had water but no ladder. Luckily it was not required.

As the ‘professionals’ went about their business, I took stock of the situation.

If this house was isolated it would have burnt to the ground. How come the whole of Lagos Mainland had no fire house?

My neighbours just lost almost all of their properties. With the economy, the way it is, replacing all those appliances won't be easy.

Well at least everyone got out without a scratch, that's a good reason to be grateful, we consoled them.

But the highlight of the night was those brave men and women, who rallied around to help a neighbour in need.

They risked lives, provided water and soap, their personal extinguishers, guarded belongings and called all the help lines they could find.

After the fire truck leaves the police officer in charge comes over and says “God bless all of you.”

He knew it was not the fire service that saved the day but ordinary men and women who did extraordinary feats.

In this tragedy I found hope. Hope in Nigerians and Humans in general. When it matters the most, people always come through.

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