By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Monsur Olowoopejo & Tiveruahor Ufuoma
Pandemonium broke out, yesterday, in the Ojuelegba area of Lagos State after a tanker carrying 33,000 liters of Premium |Motor Spirit, PMS (petrol) fell off the Ojuelegba bridge, spilling its contents and bursting into flames. One yet to be identified person was feared dead while three others were injured in the accident.
Also, five cars and four buildings were razed. The accident occurred at about 1.30am.
The inferno raged for several hours before the situation was brought under control.
In an interview, Mr. Okon Macaulay, Assistant Controller, Federal Fire Service, narrated how the incident happened. He said: “At 1.30 am, we sighted a vehicle, towing a tanker carrying fuel on the bridge. Few minutes later, the chain attached to the tanker snapped forcing the tanker to detach.
“We discovered that the entire area was enveloped with the smell of fuel. We moved our truck to the scene immediately to forestall any outbreak of fire, while deploying necessary equipment. At that time, residents had run away to escape the disaster.
“Then commercial bus drivers under the bridge began to scoop the fuel that flowed from the fallen tanker into the drainages and store them in their vehicles. While this went on, there was an explosion. We had to attack the resultant fire with foam. Several vehicles were razed by the inferno. The content in the drainage further escalated the spread of the fire.”
Macaulay claimed that a lady died due to the explosion, even as he declined to explain how the death happened.
General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Michael Akindele, in his own account of the fire, said that the incident occurred at about 2.15 am, while the tanker was ascending the bridge.
Akindele, who said no life was lost, however, confirmed that one house was razed while three others were partially burnt. He added that five vehicles were burnt.
He thanked God that the tragedy occurred in the night, saying more lives might have been lost if the fire had happened in day time.
The LASEMA boss appealed to tanker drivers to be careful while conveying inflammable products, adding that vehicles used in conveying such products must be roadworthy.
He said Governor Akinwumi Ambode had ordered integrity test to be conducted on the Ojuelegba bridge to determine its strength.
Meanwhile, the Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasak Fadipe, said the tanker was conveying 33,000 litres of petrol , saying his men moved to the scene as soon as distress call was received. According to him, timely intervention of fire men saved the situation.