Tanker Explosion Razes 34 Houses, 70 Shops In Lagos
FEW days after a petrol tanker exploded in Onitsha, killing many residents , another tanker explosion occurred, yesterday, in Lagos. Although no life was lost, millions of naira worth of goods were destroyed.
The explosion, which occurred in the early hours of Saturday at Idimu, Egbe-Idimu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of the state, left scores of residents devastated, as no fewer than 20 houses were affected .
When The Guardian visited the scene at dawn yesterday, several spare-part shops, provisions outlets, raw food kiosks, food canteens, beauty shops, and other business premises were completely raized.
According to officials of the Lagos State fire service, 34 houses and 70 shops and kiosks were completely burnt to arches.
One of the houses raised belongs to the mother of the former Egbe-Idimu LCDA, Waheed Bello. It was the third of such tanker explosions Lagos in the last six days.
Eyewitnesses recounted that the explosion was caused by some deranged tanker drivers, suspected to be young drivers, who drove recklessly on the narrow path with their trucks fully loaded with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and diesel. According to the eye witnesses, disaster struck when one of them lost control at a sharp bend, making the diesel-laden truck to stumble at Idimu main junction.
The eyewitness, Charles Ebohodaghe, said the twin explosions were heard, first was when the tanker capsized some minutes before 12 am and when the spilled content caught fire from a nearby Suya spot shortly after .
“It was one of the most dangerous moments I have seen since I have been living here. The truck drivers are often careless around here once it is night and the road slightly free. I was up there in my room when I saw this two truck going at top speed to catch up with each other.
At the BRT end of Idimu, they caught up with one another and were both still speeding. But on getting to the bend, one of them lost control causing this accident. The fuel was just gushing into the gutter and everyone had to scampered for safety.
The fire was so huge and terrifying. In no time all these places were gutted. These are all shops, usually fully stocked.
All were burnt. It is a disaster,” he said. The State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who arrived he scene at about, in company of his deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, was full of thanks to God because no life was lost.
Ambode said the victims cannot be compensated enough, but he promised that government would support the people in their most critical time.
After a tour of the affected houses, he assured that the state agencies and Local council would give them clothing, food and shelter as relief to the displaced. “We will estimate all the destroyed items and once they are ready, we will give support to you all.
What has happened in a tragic incident. It is very unfortunate because we are beginning to lose lots of our valuables.
It is 34 house and 40 shops that were burnt. We have said that our drivers must begin to observe all our traffic rules and we will see to that.”
He appeal to the people to remain calm, and expect the state government to take action to assist them. Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, told reporters that his men got the distress call at 12:08 am, and mobilized rescue response team from Ikotun.
“On seeing that it was a major explosion, we had to mobilise others from Akowonjo, Sari Iganmu, Ikeja and Alimoso to ensure that the fire didn’t get to the MRS filling station in the neighborhood, which could have spelt doom for the entire community.”
Another eyewitness, Olajide Akinsanya, said the alarm that was immediately raised ensured that the elderly people and children were not burnt in the houses. One of those rescued is the popular Baba Currency, 125 years old, who had to be carried out before fire engulfed his house.
Another resident, Hakeem Salaudeen, said the inferno could be felt from far distance as alarms rang calling on all resident to wake up.
Salaudeen gave kudos to the men of the Lagos State fire service and concerned youths, for the timely response that prevented the fire from engulfing an MRS filling station on the Idimu-Ejigbo road.
Many of the residents have started to count their loses. Yemisi Osinaike lost her late father’s house in the incident.
According to her, “It is my father’s house that was burnt . It was just yesterday that I spent all the money that I have to by goods for the shop. Everything has been destroyed.
Where do I start from?” Jonathan Obi, sells provision in wholesale and retail in two shops at the Idimu junction. Both shops were raised, with goods worth of N4million.
“This is what I use in feeding my family. Nothing in there is insured. They are all gone. Government has to come to our aide,” Obi said. Kudirat Olusi, whose family houses were also raised completely, wept profusely. She said: “Where do we start from now. Everything I have is gone with the fire. I took nothing out of the house.
All my clothes, goods, including money from Alajeseku (thrift) that I collected yesterday were burnt,” Olusi said, as she broke down in tears.
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