There was pandemonium at Ijora in the Apapa area of Lagos State yesterday as fire gutted two storage tankers at the a gas depot belonging to Total Nigeria Limited.
Several people in the area including officers of the Lilypond Area command of the Nigeria Customs Service and clearing agents scampered for safety when the tankers exploded before going up in flames.
Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of operations at the Western Ports Police Command, Mr. Olumide Kayode told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that the fire started around 5.30am yesterday when some tanker drivers were trans-loading petroleum products in the area.
He said the fire was immediately contained by some staff of the Total gas depot only for it to start again at about 9am when business activities had fully resumed in the area.
“The fire started around 5.30 in the morning. The people around especially the Total gas staff responded and they put it off. No sooner had that been done, the police arrived and everybody thought it was okay and people resumed their normal activities but the fire started again because there is fire that had already gone down the charcoal and as I speak with you now (yesterday afternoon), they are still trying to kill the charcoal fire.
“The security there is still not safe and because of that, we are posting police officers to monitor the place and there is contingency plan now to make sure that even if there is fire it is doused immediately,” he said.
He blamed tanker drivers for disobeying the no parking order in the area thereby leading to the fire outbreak and endangering the lives of others.
“The sign says ‘No Parking’ but people think they must park and not obey the law. That area is supposed to be a no parking zone but they refused and disobeyed the law by doing fuel transaction,” he stated.
Also speaking, Deputy Comptroller in charge of Administration at the Lilypond command, John Osoemena said, “We are highly exposed because our office is located at a very volatile area. I didn’t even know some women can run faster than men but thank God the fire did not degenerate.”