Nigeria: Five dead after explosion at gas station in Lagos State
An early morning gas explosion rocked the Baruwa area of Ipaja, Lagos on Thursday, 8 October 2020, has claimed five lives leaving several others with varying degree of injuries. Preliminary assessment of the explosion put the damages at 89 shops, 44 buildings, including a church, school and event centre, 23 electric poles, two transformers, gas tankers, one tricycle and one motorcycle. According to an eyewitness account, the explosion occurred at 6h20am at Candos Road, Baruwa Inside when an liquefied petrol gas (LPG or cooking gas) tanker, which was discharging at the Best Roof Plant Station, exploded. The source of the explosion could be traced to the station’s power generator, which was supplying power while the tanker was discharging products into the storage tank. It was learnt that when the explosion occurred, it threw those nearby and the discharging LPG tanker across the road, thus exacerbating the fire. The gas plant has about 30 metric tonnes of gas in the underground tank, and while it was offloading, the workers were also dispensing to customers. According to the zonal coordinator, the gas valve has been opened to release the gas to avert another explosion while fire fighters are blanketing the whole area.
Confirming the incident, the South-west Zonal Coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye, said emergency services were quickly deployed to contain the inferno. He said five bodies had been recovered so far, while three injured persons, including a woman and two children had been evacuated and taken to the intensive care hospital due to the degree of burns. He said the destruction was on a large scale because the Best Roof Gas Plant Station was located in a densely populated community.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have expressed deep sorrow over the incident. Sanwo-Olu, who described the incident as a sad memory in the life of his administration, blamed negligence on the part of the gas plant operators for the explosion.
After putting out the initial fire, he said the stored gas in the station started discharging but there was no explosion again.
Farinloye noted that as at 9h04am, the fire was put out completely, while the secondary gas leakage from the underground tanker was put under control. He added, “The eight casualties with major burns are currently being treated at the Gbagada General Hospital Burns Unit, while the five bodies recovered have been deposited at the mortuary.” Farinloye debunked the reports making rounds that eight people have been confirmed dead in the explosion, saying: “Even the police chief and others were there with us. We found five bodies only. The others are still alive and being treated.”
The DG/CEO Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, encouraged the residents of Lagos State to report unsavoury and dangerous practices within their neighbourhoods to the relevant agencies. “Reports should go to such agencies as the Lagos Safety Commission and 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,” he said.
While clearing and securing of the affected areas by joint teams of responders is ongoing, the State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, the RRS team and other police units were also on the ground to control the situation.
Barely three weeks ago, about 30 people were injured in a gas explosion that occurred at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos State, while 15 vehicles and 23 buildings were destroyed.
Sources: This Day, Nairametrics