Fire in Nigeria destroys buildings in Lagos suburb

LAGOS, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Fire ripped through a poor suburb in Nigeria's biggest city Lagos on Tuesday, burning down ramshackle homes and workshops as firefighters fought to stop the blaze, a Reuters witness said.

There were no reported casualties from the fire, which began around 5 p.m. and was yet to be put out as it was fanned by swirling winds, local residents told Reuters.

Dozens of buildings were burned to the ground in Ebute Metta, a community along the Lagos lagoon where sawmills process timber brought from across Nigeria.

"Millions of people live in this area and more than 250 residencies have been burned up," Paul Apeti, a 48-year-old timber factory owner told Reuters.

"Fire consumed the whole place, we were fighting the flames ourselves until the fire fighters got here," Apeti added.

Nigeria's emergency agency did not respond to requests for comment.

Lagos is the commercial hub of Africa's second biggest economy and is home to an estimated 17 million people.

Fires are common in Nigeria, where kerosene is used on basic cooking stoves and diesel powers electricity generators in homes and work places.

(Reporting by Sharon Atseyinku; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Alison Williams)