Friday, January 10, 2014

Another petrol tanker crashes in Lagos


The crash scene on Ajuwon Road, Iju in Lagos ... on  Thursday.
Another tanker laden with 33,000 litres of petrol fell in the Iju area of Lagos State on Thursday, spilling some of its contents on the road.
The incident came barely 24 hours after a petrol tanker crashed into passenger buses in the Kirikiri area of the state, killing at least 15 people.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the truck, belonging to Conoil, with number plate, XB467AKN, also hit an electric pole along Ajuwon Road. It was learnt that no life was lost in the incident.
Fire fighters from Agege Fire Station, as well as technical staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria and policemen prevented vehicles from plying the road while the incident lasted.  Around 8am, the remaining fuel in the vehicle was transferred into another tanker.
The Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Razaq Fadipe, told our correspondent that the tanker fell around 2.21am.
He said, “Around 2.21am, another fuel tanker laden with 33,000 litres of petrol fell close to the entrance of Grain Movement premises. There was heavy spillage of fuel, but we were able to prevent a fire.”
Meanwhile, many escaped death after a room on the premises of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Staff Hospital, Onike, Yaba, was gutted by fire.
An employee at the hospital, who declined to identify himself, told PUNCH Metro that only equipment were destroyed in the fire.
He said, “Around 10am, we saw fire from the secretary’s office on the first floor. So we evacuated all the patients, while other employees ran outside. There was no one in the affected office when the fire started, so there were no casualties.”
Fadipe explained that the fire started after an employee turned off the generator and switched over to public power supply.
Fadipe said the fire spread to the medical director’s office, but the timely intervention of his agency prevented the entire building from being gutted by the inferno.
“The fire was said to have emanated from a stabiliser in the secretary office  after they switched back to electricity. It then spread to the medical director’s office, but we were able to contain it,” Fadipe said.
In a related development, relatives of victims of the tanker explosion which occurred at Suya Bus Stop, Kirikiri, Lagos came looking for the bodies of their loved ones at Gbagada General Hospital on Thursday.
Some of the relatives, who had yet to find the bodies of  their loved ones, told PUNCH Metro that they had gone to some mortuaries in the state, including the one at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.
One of them said his brother, who was coming to pay him a visit in his shop on Tuesday, was one of the passengers of the commercial bus that was behind the tanker that exploded.
He said, “I was on the telephone with him, and he told me he was almost at Berger Bus Stop, as we were speaking, I heard a loud bang. I have been trying to locate which hospital they took him to.”
Other victims’ relatives told our correspondent that they had yet to identify their members, as most of the remains were burnt beyond recognition.
One of them said, “ I do not even know if  my sister’s body is here or not. What we know is that we cannot identify them, I have been to LASUTH, and they told us to come here. We are also checking some general hospitals to see if I can identify her.”
However, a source at the hospital told one of our correspondents that many of the injured victims brought to the hospital were referred to other hospitals due to lack of bed spaces.
The doctor at the burns unit of the hospital said those that were admitted were in critical conditions.
He said since most of the bodies of the victims were charred, the management of the mortuaries where the corpses were taken to might need to conduct further identification procedures.
“We are not sure if a DNA examination will be needed to identify those that suffered 100 per cent burns. But I will advise relations to visit mortuaries around the state where they would be asked to complete some identification forms and also fill the necessary requirements need to claim the bodies,” he said.
Also, PUNCH Metro learnt that the state government had started an assessment test on the buildings that were affected by the Wednesday’s inferno.
Officials told our correspondent that the most affected building, Sterling Bank, located at Berger Suya Bus Stop, might be demolished along with other shops depending on the outcome of the test.
The President, Berger Business Community, Mr. Okey Udeagba, said the state government had ordered all the traders to evacuate.
He said, “But we cannot sit back at home and do nothing, so we worked partially today and we will continue to work. However, the Lagos State Government issued a circular instructing everybody to evacuate.
“None of our members died in the fire and those that sustained injuries are recovering. We are, however, looking for the owner of the truck that caused the fire. If he is someone that is buoyant or has insurance, he will have to compensate the traders.”

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