What could have resulted in serious tragedy was on September 14, 2014, averted when some substances believed to petroleum products stored in jerry cans in a private residence exploded in Ajangbadi area of Lagos State. The incident happened in a house located on Elico Street, Sabo Bus Stop.
A source told Daily Sun that the apartment where the fire happened was being used to store fuel by the wife of the owner of the building, who dealt in ‘black market.’
But for the timely intervention of men of fire service from Ojo Local Government Area, and combined efforts of other residents, who came to quench the fire, a major disaster would have occurred.
Speaking on the matter, the chairman of the street, Mr. Cosmas Obi, alleged that the residents had warned the woman to stop storing fuel in large quantity in the building but she would not listen. “We have been warning them against storing fuel in gallons in the building but on each occasion, they never listened. Fuel is not what anyone would store in the house and not invite disaster.
“Buildings in this vicinity are very close to one another. If the fire had started in the night, the whole community could have been razed down. We don’t have scarcity of fuel in this country, so why should anyone be storing up to 20 or 25litres of jerry cans of fuel in a private residence?”
Another resident, who gave his name as Mr. Adegoke Keke, also alleged that on several occasions, neigbours had warned the woman to desist from the business of storing fuel in the building, which she later resold to people at cut-throat price. He further told our reporter that oftentimes, the petroleum products she stored and sold were brought in every midnight by flying boat through the carnal, which is very close the building. “I thank God that they own the house. But my condolences go to the tenants only. Every night, we used to see them carrying fuel out from the boats, which usually come in through the canal. Now look at what that risky business has done.”
On what caused the fire, which eye witnesses said started about 9am, Mr. Eze Paul alleged that the woman was cooking very close to the point where she stored the fuel before one of the jerry-cans exploded and others joined in quick succession. “At exactly 9am, the woman was cooking very close to where she stored the fuel. All of a sudden, one of the jerry cans, containing fuel exploded. But before the huge fire escalated, we were able to evacuate about 20 of 25 litres jerry cans from the building. Think of the damage it would have caused if the whole fuel stored there had exploded?
“When we noticed the fire, we called Ojo local government fire office and they responded immediately. But unfortunately, they said they did not come with chemical to enable them put out the fire. So, they had to rush back to fetch the chemical, as we battled the fire. Upon their return, they did very well in helping to quench the fire,” he said.
All efforts made to speak with the affected woman failed as our correspondents were told that she fainted as soon as the fire started.