•25 buildings, 16 shops, others destroyed
Precious Igbonwelundu, Tajudeen Adebanjo and Omolola Afolabi
EMERGENCY agencies yesterday confirmed five persons dead in the gas explosion on Candose Road, Baruwa in Alimosho Local Government Area, Lagos.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service gave this figure. But, Lagos Police Command Public Relations Officer Olumuyiwa Adejobi, a Superintendent (SP), in a statement corroborated the figure. Residents and family members, who spoke with The Nation, identified them as Aishat Adebowale, a trader, and Baba Akeem, a guard.
The gas station, BestRoof Cooking Gas, residents said, started operating in the densely populated area about two years.
The gas station is situated a few kilometres away from a filling station named BestRoof Oil and Gas.
The late Aishat, whose house was near the gas station, was said to have alerted members of her family and other residents of the gas surge before she fell victim.
Eyewitnesses said she left her shop and quickly evacuated her family members to a safe place before returning to the house to pick an item.
“After picking the item, she was running away before the gas exploded and she was caught by the fire. Unfortunately, she lost her life to the inferno,” a neighbour told The Nation.
She has since been buried.
The Nation learnt that Baba Akeem, a guard, died of burnt in the hospital.
He was rescued by the crowd from the fire and handed over to the police. The officers later handed him over to the LASEMA officials, who took him to the General Hospital in Ikeja where he died.
There were also conflicting reports over the injured person.
The Nation learnt that five persons were injured and are being treated in various hospitals. Three of them were identified as Sola Amos Adeleke, his son Michael and Udoh Evans.
The police image maker also reported that five persons were injured. But LASEMA Director-General Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu and Lagos State Fire & Rescue Service Acting Head Mrs Margaret Adeseye gave the injured figure as eight.
According to LASEMA, the fire which started around 5:45am affected 25 buildings, 16 shops and three vehicles.
The explosion, Oke-Osanyintolu said, was caused by carelessness on the part of the gas operators.
The gas plant, it was gathered, has about 30 metric tons of gas in its underground storage and while it was offloading, the employees were also in the process of dispensing to domestic consumer.
When the explosion happened, it threw those nearby and the discharging LPG tanker across the road, thus exacerbating the fire.
Oke-Osanyintolu said: “Lagosians are encouraged to report unsavoury and dangerous practices within their neighbourhoods to relevant agencies which include Lagos Safety Commission, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency so that the government can engage in more prevention and precautionary measures including issuing contravention notices and sealing up premises to prevent these types of disasters.”
Mrs Adeseye said properties worth millions of naira were destroyed.
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Southwest Zonal Coordinator Ibrahim Farinloye told reporters that a preliminary assessment revealed that 44 buildings were affected, as well as one school, one event centre, 89 shops, one church, one tricycle, gas tankers, 23 electric poles, two transformers and one motorcycle.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police (CP) Hakeem Odumosu, who visited the scene for on the spot assessment, sympathised with the victims.
Odumosu assured the victims and the entire community, of proper investigation into the incident and adequate security of lives and property in the area.