By Godwin Oritse & Godfrey Bivbere & Ifeanyi Okolie
LAGOS — EXPLOSION, yesterday, rocked the Apapa storage facility of MRS Oil and Gas Company, as a result of a fire that damaged part of the facility.
Vanguard gathered that the fire started from a hose used for the discharging of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
It was further gathered that one of the hoses was being rolled back into the barge when a spark occurred and caused a fire that spread to the vessel. This led to the explosion that shook the entire Tin-Can port area in Lagos.
The explosion led to a commotion as the fire spread to other parts of the facility, including the loading gantry, generating plant house and vehicles parked in the premises.
An official of the security department, who did not disclose his name, said there was no casualty, adding that the fire was contained within the MRS facility.
Sources at Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, said the barge had finished discharging its content and was disconnecting the hoses when the incident occurred, adding that no death was recorded. Vanguard, however, gathered that two staff who sustained non life threatening injuries are currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Apapa.
The source added that DPR needed to carry out further investigations into the incidence.
An official of the unit branch of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, said the fire was brought under control by firemen from the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, has ordered full investigations into the blast.
Abdullahi, who gave the instruction to the Health Safety and Environment Department in conjunction with Marine and Fire Service to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the incident, also appealed to stakeholders, especially port users to go about their normal businesses as the blast did not in any way affect port operations.
When Vanguard visited the MRS facility, a crowd of onlookers and staff of the company were seen at the gate.
Executive Director, Ship and Trading, MRS, Mr. Marco Straphi, who spoke to reporters outside the gate said: “There are no injuries and no life was lost. We are still investigating the cause of the fire. There are no casualties except for some damages to our office complex. We don’t know the reason for the fire. You know it happened at the waterfront. Nobody is allowed into the premises because of the state of the fire. I can’t say what I don’t know. We will investigate the cause of the fire and report to the appropriate authorities.”
Also speaking to Vanguard on the incident, General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Mr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said his men and other agencies succeeded in putting out the fire without any loss of life.
He said: “The Lagos State Fire Service was on ground and other agencies. We were allowed access into the facility to combat the fire. You must understand that LASEMA coordinated the exercise.”