By Evelyn Usman
An explosion from a truck loaded with combustive substance rocked the Iju Ishaga area of Lagos, with at least three persons feared dead in the resultant inferno and a yet- to- be ascertained number of persons wounded.
Some houses and vehicles were also affected.
Report said that the truck was trying to enter a gas plant at Cele bus-stop Iju, when it exploded. The deafening sound jostled residents who scampered from their houses to different directions for safety.
As at time of writing this report, thick smoke was still billowing in the area, with rescue operators from the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Firefighters among others, were still battling to put out the raging inferno.
An eye witness, Chioye Amagadi, who was still smarting from the shock of the explosion, explained that “ I was driving along Balogun / Cele bus-stop when I heard the most deafening sound in my entire life. It was followed by a mad rush from a filling station. I could not reverse because there were other vehicles behind. The next thing we saw was thick smoke which was accompanied by balls of fire. At this point, everyone started running. I abandoned my vehicle and fled .
“Six persons were brought out unconscious before the arrival of rescue workers. But three of them stopped breathing. A nurse who was on her way to work said they were dead but however told us to rush them to the hospital.
“ So many people were injured . Some had burns while some sustained injuries as a result of the stampede”.
However, another eye witness who simply identified himself as John, said he only saw one corpse.
But rescue operators did not confirm any death. They only said many people were injured.
NEMA’s South West Coordinator, Ibrahim Farinloye, said two fire engines were on ground to contain its spread to nearby buildings, with others on the way.
He disclosed that 30 persons sustained varying degrees of injuries. Giving a breakdown of the figure, he said “ 15 persons were admitted at the Iju waterworks Clinic, two persons referred to General hospital, three persons are on critical observation and 10 persons are being treated presently. Among the affected buildings, according to Farinloye, was an event centre.
On his part, Head, Public Affairs,LASEMA, Mr Nosa Okunbor, said “On arrival at the scene it was observed that there was a gas explosion. Further investigation revealed that an unknown truck conveying Gasoline had a lone accident and exploded.
“The impact of the explosion led to fire at adjoining buildings and several vehicles were burnt. Several persons were injured and have been taken to the nearest hospital for treatment. The inferno is being tackled head-on by the combined efforts of the LASEMA Response Team led by the Director Operations, LRU Fire, LASG Fire Service, Nigeria Police Force and NSCDC.”.