Properties worth several millions of naira were yesterday destroyed by fire which also claimed no fewer than three lives at Kirikiri area of Apapa, Lagos. Reporters who witnessed the incident counted five trucks, five cars and 14 motorcycles with no fewer than 35 makeshift shops razed by the inferno.
One of those who died in the inferno was said to have been burnt beyond recognition, making it difficult for people to ascertain the victim’s identity. The victim was suspected to have been trapped in the fire as the charred remains were discovered in one of the shops directly in front of the fuel tanker which reportedly caused the inferno.
According to eyewitnesses’ accounts, the fire which started about 4.30 pm was said to have begun after a fuel laden tanker fell as a result of the by poor state of the portion of the road which was abandoned after the road was repaired recently.
An eyewitness who gave his name as Chinedu said that the driver of one of the ill-fated oil tankers was trying to navigate through the bad portion of the road when it fell and sparked the fire which spread to the truck coming behind it.
“Before the fire started, a truck conveying tyres from one of the companies around this area had broken down and obstructed the road. So, other vehicles coming behind it had to make a detour and use the remaining single lane, which of course was too narrow for the truck.
“But while navigating through the narrow passage the tanker fell and immediately sparked the fire. The fire spread to another oil tanker which was coming behind. Before we knew what was going on, the fire spread to all the makeshift shops which lined both sides of the road,” he said.
Other eyewitnesses who spoke to Sunday Sun confirmed Chinedu’s account and blamed the incident on the government for failing to complete the remaining portion of the road which they claimed is less than 500 metres.
The member representing, Amuwo Odofin 11, Honorable Akeem Bello called on the federal government to come to the aid of people of the area. “The fire started about 4:25pm. Actually, I was at the bus stop when it began. Initially, I thought people were burning tyres in the area but when I moved closer, we discovered that the fire was caused by trucks that fell on the road. So we called all the depot owners around to help with their fire fighting trucks.
“We tried as much as possible to put out the fire but some lives were lost. About three people got burnt in the fire. Though this road belongs to the Federal Government, I must thank the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwumi Ambode because he is trying his best to see how to repair our roads but we still have to beg the Federal Government to come to our rescue in Kirikiri town. It is the bad road that caused the fire,” he said.
Men of the Nigeria Police and the Nigerian Navy were on ground at the scene of the inferno while firefighters from some oil depots as well as those of Lagos State Fire Serve battled relentlessly to put out the raging fire.