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Tanker explosion in Lagos, 3 killed, 39 vehicles burnt

On 18 February, three people were killed and 39 vehicles burnt, as a fuel tanker exploded at about 1 am, causing a massive blaze at the Mile Two area of Lagos.

The tanker, with registration number XB 370 ATN and fully loaded with 33,000 litres of fuel, was said to have lost one of its tyres. Its driver thereafter lost control and the tanker fell on its side and exploded. A mighty fire spread fast through the entire area.

Three people who were fast asleep in nearby structures were trapped in the inferno and burnt to death. One of them was a local official of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), who was sleeping inside the union’s office; the other two were a driver and an attendant in the park. The charred remains of all three were taken to a mortuary in an ambulance at about 3 am.

The fire also razed many vehicles, mostly commercial cars and buses parked by their operators at the close of work the previous day. These included eight Toyota Hiace mini buses (each estimated at N6 million), two Space wagons, eight LT buses, a towing vehicle and 16 salon cars. It took several hours before a team of the Lagos State Fire Service, with nine fire-fighting trucks, eventually subdued the inferno.

The General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, confirmed that three people died. The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Jaiyeoba Joseph, a Superintendent of Police, said 39 vehicles were burnt.

18 die as another building collapses in Lagos

Rescue work after previous building collapse in Lagos

On 5 July, at least 18 people were crushed to death when a 4-storey building in which they were living collapsed on Lagos Island, Lagos State. As the incident occurred almost at mid-night, many of the victims were trapped in the rubble all night and well into the next day, with ill-equipped rescue workers battling to save them. Many of those rescued had serious injuries and were rushed to hospitals.

Local residents say the building located at No. 4 Mogaji Street, a densely-populated area, cracked and crumbled at around 11.30pm. Groups of young men from all over the neighbourhood organised the initial rescue efforts. They were soon joined by the police and state emergency services, including the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA), Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) and the Fire Service. Witnesses say the early response by these agencies helped to save some lives, but that their operations were hampered by the darkness and limited equipment.

Some of the rescued victims were rushed to the general hospitals on Lagos Island and Gbagada, while the bodies of the dead were taken to the mortuary of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) at Ikeja.

The General Manager of LASEMA, Dr. Oluwafemi Osanyintolu told newsmen at the scene of the incident, that his agency was doing the utmost it could to rescue those still trapped. He said he could not yet speak on the number of casualties, as the rescue operation was still underway.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Wale Ahmed, described the incident as “a big tragedy”, saying he was worried as the state government had taken several measures to end the recurrence of building collapse in the state.

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