Fire from Chinese restaurant caused Lagos explosion – LASEMA

Our Reporter

The Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, on Saturday provided further insight into the tanker fire that claimed five lives and consumed no fewer than 25 vehicles on Thursday.

According to him, the fire outbreak that greeted the leakage from a moving cooking gas truck on Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos was ignited by a spark from the kitchen of the Chinese restaurant in which the manager and two of his colleagues were killed on the spot.

The restaurant is located inside the Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC) Plaza where other offices were also burnt.

Oke-Osanyintolu, who read a preliminary report on its investigation of the incident in Lagos yesterday, said: “Close investigation revealed that the leaking cooking gas from the truck was ignited by the exposed fire from the kitchen of the new Chinese restaurant inside OPIC Plaza.

“As a result of wind action, the whole area of OPIC structure was engulfed with fire.

“The fire trailed the cooking gas, resulting in the combustion of the gas tanker outside the compound.”

Oke-Osanyintolu added that the fire from the explosion resulted in severe damage to the OPIC Plaza building.

He said that LASEMA’s “Tiger Team” received a distress call at about 10.57 pm on Thursday and immediately swung into action with its private-sector technical partner.

“On arrival at the scene of the incident, it was discovered that a 13.5-ton gas tanker in motion was leaking its content,” he said.

Oke-Osanyintolu said the fire resulted in 13 burns causalities at the scene, who were given first aid by LASEMA before they were taken to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Gbagada General Hospital for further treatment.

“Unfortunately, three adult males were further discovered dead at the scene and their bodies were bagged and transported to the morgue.

“Also, two victims died while undergoing medical attention at LASUTH, hence a total of five fatalities were recorded as at the time this report was put together,” he said.

He added that LASEMA and other responders evacuated other occupants of the building to a safe place while the Lagos State Government Fire Service ensured that the fire was prevented from spreading to nearby buildings.

He said also that the crowd and traffic control were managed with the help of the police, LASTMA and FRSC officials.

Oke-Osanyintolu said the OPIC Plaza had been cordoned off as a disaster zone and prepared for further investigation, adding that 24 vehicles were burnt in the inferno.

OPIC Plaza fire avoidable – Governor Abiodun

Speaking with newsmen shortly after his on-the-spot assessment of the premises of the Ogun state-owned OPIC Plaza in Ikeja, Lagos on Friday, Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, said the gas explosion incident was avoidable if necessary checks had been made.

He called for extra safety measures to be put in place for the transport of liquefied petroleum gas across the country in order to check incessant explosions which he said had led to huge loss of lives and wanton destruction of property.

Abiodun also urged regulators in the gas and petroleum downstream sector to ensure that trucks conveying petroleum products and gas are in perfect working condition.

Expressing sadness over the loss of lives and destruction of property caused by the inferno, he said that promotion of liquefied petroleum gas for domestic use in the country should not be at the expense of the people’s lives.

He said: “We must learn something from this incident, and the first thing is to begin to look at all these trucks carrying petroleum products.

“How can we ensure that they are safe for our roads? Can you imagine if this incident had happened while this truck was in the traffic, a rush hour for that matter? Can you imagine the level of damage and casualty?

“We must sit down with the management of the Department of Petroleum Resources to determine how we can introduce extra safety measures.

“Yes, we want to promote the penetration of LPG as against the use of kerosene, but we cannot afford to do that at the expense of the safety of human lives.

“So, my counterpart, Governor Jide Sanwoolu (of Lagos State) and I will be having this discussion very soon.”

He said the collaboration between the Lagos and Ogun State governments through the Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission would soon receive the necessary legal backing as the Attorneys-General of both states have drafted the executive order that would give the Commission life.

He noted that with the Commission fully operational, there would be a seamless synergy between Ogun and Lagos states on disaster management such as the occurrence at the OPIC Plaza.

“LASEMA and its counterpart in Ogun will both sit down with the Department of Petroleum Resources to determine immediate steps to be taken so as to ensure that such incidents no longer happen again,” he said.

He commended the officials of LASEMA for their timely intervention and the Lagos State government for deploying its firefighting and other equipment to the scene of the fire, which he said helped in reducing losses.

Abiodun added: “I personally spoke with the Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) that we must sit down and think of how we can mitigate the future occurrence of incidents like this.

“Thankfully, we have a collaboration with Lagos State, the Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission, and the issue of safety is also part of the responsibility of that Commission. I believe that this even will further fast-track some of its responsibilities.”

The governor, while commiserating with the families of the victims of the incident, noted that his administration would take toll and account of losses when it is safe, so as to estimate the total value of what had been lost in the premises.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

To Top