- Published on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 17:27
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A warehouse loaded with firecrackers on the Lagos Island went off in flames in the morning of Boxing Day, spreading to 15 other houses and razing them down.
The fire destroyed cars and properties of residents in houses. One person was confirmed dead in the accident, many of the residents sustained injuries and were rushed to the hospital.According to a rescue worker, over 30 people had been treated for injuries.“We have treated about thirty people so far,” a Red Cross worker told huhuonline.com.
According to eyewitnesses, the fire started when the firecrackers stored in the building, located at Oroyiyin\Jankara area of the Island in Lagos, began to explode at about 9.30 am, causing confusion in the area.
“The residents began to run helter skelter with many not even knowing where they were headed. We thought the deafening sound was caused by bomb explosion,” John Amole, a resident of the area told Huhuonline.com.
He said there was serious panic, as the blasts shattered glass windows of houses and shook buildings far away from the scene.
Confirming the incident, spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Yushau Shuaib, confirmed the development, saying, “NEMA has mobilised response agencies and volunteers to an explosion in a building suspected to be loaded with (fireworks) in the Jankara area of Lagos.”
But he added that search-and-rescue officers of NEMA were finding it difficult to reach the place due to heavy traffic and the presence of hordes of onlookers around the scene.
The statement, in full, read: “The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed a powerful explosion that occurred this morning in Lagos from a building suspected to be loaded with ‘knockouts’ brands of fireworks that are usually used during festive periods.
“The explosion which further triggered fire outbreaks within the neighboring environments occurred from a building suspected to be a warehouse for storage of electrical items at Jankara Market by Adeniji Adele in Lagos Island Local Government Council of Lagos State.
“Although the Search and Rescue Officers had hectic time to reach the densely populated area due to heavy traffic and crowds, other response agencies and volunteers mobilized were able to control the fire incidents in area with supports from residents.
“So far one human-body that was burnt beyond recognition had been recovered from the rubble of exploded area in Lagos as reported earlier.
“The recovery was made when search and rescue officers were working at the scene.
“The fire incident was triggered by suspected fireworks stored in presumed warehouse in Lagos Island. At least 15 people were treated for injuries sustained mostly from stampede during the explosion.
“The explosion was not suspected to be a deliberate attack to cause confusion as security agencies have commenced their investigations.”
Men of the Fire Service also stormed the scene and were assisted by the crowd around the area. However, they could not do much as the fire had spread to other houses.
Although firecrackers are banned in the country, Nigerians have continued to defy the ban, using them indiscriminately during festive periods.