Scores die, over 50 vehicles burnt in Lagos tanker explosion
Some officials of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency LASEMA, gathering the remains of some of the victims of the accident, many of which burnt beyond recognition,
BY FRANCIS EZEM
No fewer than 100 persons were feared burnt alive while over 50 vehicles were destroyed on the Otedola Estate end of the Lagos -Ibadan Expressway on Thursday following a fire incident that engulfed a petrol-laden tanker in the early part of the evening.
The ensuing inferno caused serious gridlocks on the Lagos –Ibadan Expressway, which was closed to traffic for several hours due to the incident, as traffic was diverted to alternative routes, leading to serious traffic logjam on most of the adjourning roads around the area.
It took the combined efforts of the Lagos State Fire Service and officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency LASEMA as well as other security and traffic officials to bring the inferno under control after several hours.
An eye witness told Business and Transport Online that trouble started when a tanker with a full load of Premium Motor Spirit PMS, also called petrol, which was coming from the Ojota end of Lagos –Ibadan Expressway out of Lagos lost control after descending the Otedola Bridge inward Berger bus stop.
According to him, due to the top speed with which the vehicle descended the bride, its engine end of the truck disconnected from the tank area, which now upturned, thus spilling its content, a development that gave rise to an explosion and the ensuing inferno.
He also disclosed that large explosion, which also gave to the inferno engulfed most of the vehicles behind the truck, adding that since the incident happened during the evening peak hours, occupants of the engulfed passengers of the vehicles were trapped and burnt beyond recognition, as no one could come to their rescue due to the fire.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has commiserated with families of victims of the fatal tanker explosion, which occurred at about 5pm, describing it as most unfortunate and regrettable
In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, the government also described the incident as a sad development.
“On behalf of the Lagos State Government, we extend our deepest commiseration to the families of persons who lost their lives as well as properties to the incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of pain and grief.
“As a government, we would not relent in putting measures in place to ensure safety of lives and property of all residents,” the commissioner said.
He also said that Governor Ambode has directed all relevant agencies to move into the area to normalise the apprehension that had taken over the area and to also ensure that those in need are adequately taken care of.
According to him, the governor assured that clearing of the highway of damaged vehicles to establish normal traffic flow would continue throughout the night until the objective is achieved.
While urging motorists to continue to adhere to safety standards and the state traffic laws so as to prevent a reoccurrence of such incidents, the commissioner also called for the co-operation of all citizens with the officials of the agencies to ensure that normalcy was restored as soon as possible.
But some motorists, who reacted to the incident, noted that it was high time the various levels of government did something about that Otedola Bridge, which they argued has witnessed similar ghastly accidents in the recent past.
They argued that relevant agencies of both the Federal and Lagos State Governments should take urgent steps to address the steep nature of that bridge, which makes it difficult for big truck to climb and descend with ease.