On Wednesday, the peace and serenity of Banana Island, Ikoyi, a highbrow Lagos community, was shattered after a seven-storey building under construction collapsed.
Like fire in harmattan, the news quickly spread as emergency management workers hurried to the scene to pull out people who were trapped under the rubble.
While some of the victims were taken to the Lagos Island General Hospital, others were admitted to the Falomo Police Hospital, Ikoyi.
The site engineer and supervisor, Timothy Omotosho, was among those lucky to escape with his life.
Due to the severity of his injuries, he was rushed to the general hospital, where doctors pulled him out of the jaws of death.
When our correspondent visited the medical facility, he found the victim, along with four other critically injured victims, lying on the bed.
Omotosho sustained injuries on his head and had some portions of his leg and arms heavily plastered.
While recalling the incident, he said he was supervising the concrete casting on the seventh floor when the slab suddenly broke into two.
The supervisor noted that unlike other workers who started fleeing for their lives, he was too much in shock to move.
He said, “We were casting the seventh-floor slab. I was supervising the casting of the concrete. We were like 80 per cent done; before I knew what was happening, a side of the slab broke into two. Some of my guys immediately started running down the stairs, but I didn’t know what to do. I was in shock. I was just standing there.
“The next thing, the building collapsed on me when I was still on the seventh floor and when I opened my eyes, I was on the ground floor. All I know is someone carried me and I found myself in a vehicle.”
Omotosho said the concrete used on the site was pre-mixed by a company and every batch was tested for integrity before it was used.
He noted that he could not fathom what went wrong that led to the collapse of the building.
Three other victims in the same ward with Omotosho sustained varying degrees of injuries.
While one had an injury on his shoulder, the other had an injury on both knees.
The last victim had his head all wrapped in a bandage with one of his eyes completely covered.
It was gathered that he would be going for a CT scan to ascertain the extent of his injuries.
The fifth survivor was at a different section of the general hospital, where he was being treated for a broken spine.
When our correspondent visited the Falomo Police Hospital, Ikoyi, a nurse, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 10 people were rushed to the facility.
“Six of the 10 have been discharged; they sustained minor injuries, but the remaining four are still under observation,” she added.
In the Accident and Emergency Ward, there was one patient, while two other patients, a carpenter, Ramon Oladapo, and one David, were admitted to the surgical ward.
Co-worker saved me – Carpenter
Our correspondent observed that friends and families were with their loved ones, but Oladapo was alone in a corner, visibly in pain.
When asked where his family was, the artisan, who had his cell phone by his bedside, said he did not tell his wife and children that he was at the scene of the building collapse.
The 37-year-old told Bellnewsonline.com that after he noticed that the building was about to collapse, he started running down the stairs from the seventh floor where he was working.
On getting to the fourth floor, the structure fell on him.
He said, “I am a carpenter and I was working under the decking of the seventh floor when the building caved in. As I heard the sound, I tried to find a way out immediately.
“I started running down the stairs; I managed to make it to the fourth floor before the building gave way. I just saw myself under the decking and I started shouting for help. God opened a way for me; my co-workers discovered me and pulled me out.
“I am married with three children. I live at Kola, after Iyana-Ipaja. My wife and children are not aware that a building collapsed on me or I am in a hospital. I do not want to tell her so she doesn’t become worried and afraid.
“I had a minor chest surgery this afternoon (Thursday). I have been experiencing pain in my chest and I have injuries on my hands and legs, although they are not much. I am grateful to be alive.”
The Lagos State Government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said the state would bear the cost of treatment of the victims and provide post-trauma counselling support for them
He also noted of the 25 persons rescued by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, 16 with moderate injuries were admitted to the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island, and Police Hospital, Falomo, for treatment and care.
Omotosho explained that nine others with minor injuries, such as bruises, were treated and discharged at the site by Lagos State Ambulance Services.