There was panic in the Ekoro area of Abule-Egba of Lagos State on Sunday when a pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation exploded.
Two persons were confirmed dead in the inferno, which began around 8.02 pm and was still raging as of the time of filing this report, with sources alleging that it was caused by the activities of vandals, who allegedly ruptured the pipeline in a bid to steal fuel.
An eyewitness, who identified himself simply as Ito, said the incident had created tension in the community, adding that many residents abandoned their homes for fear of being burnt.
“The vandals, who ruptured the NNPC pipeline in the area, caused the fire incident. The fire started around 8 pm and many people died, while others ran helter-skelter.”
The Director-General, Lagos State Fire Service, Margaret Adeseye, said personnel from three fire service stations had been deployed in the area to curtail the inferno, adding that no casualty had been recorded.
“Yes, a fire incident is ongoing. Personnel from three of our stations are present at the scene of the inferno. The fire is still on, but under control; we deployed personnel from the Agege, Alausa and Abesan fire stations in the area. The cause of the fire is still under investigation; no casualty has been recorded for now.”
Also, the Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, who confirmed the incident, said, “A raging fire from the explosion of a vandalised NNPC pipeline has caused panic among residents of Awori, U-turn and Pipeline communities in Abule-Egba. LASEMA and the Lagos State Fire Service are responding and on top of the situation.”
He confirmed that two adults died in the inferno, while 11 trucks laden with 40-foot containers as well as seven houses were razed by the fire.
An eyewitness said the fire was coming out from the ruptured point, adding that firefighters could not go near the point, but we’re ensuring that the fire would not spread to neighbouring properties.
The Public Relations Officer of the state fire service, Jamiu Dosumu, said the General Manager, NNPC, Mosimin Depot, Bayo Ojo, confirmed that the pipeline had been shut down to reduce the intensity of the fire.