LAGOS - A gas explosion has occurred in Ajegunle, a Lagos surburb, leaving four persons dead and 21 injured.
The explosion was said to have occurred on Wednesday evening at Aduke Street, Ojo Road, after a customer received a phone call inside a shop where cooking gas was being refilled.
Among those killed were three children and a woman said to have been burnt beyond recognition.
Another report indicated that the shop owner was allegedly shaking the gas bottle when it fell and exploded, escalating to nearby shops where occupants were receiving phone calls.
While two of the deceased including a boy Damilare Afolabi died at the spot, the other two were said to have passed on at the hospital they were rushed to Thursday.
According to a witness Balqess Adeniran, the explosion occurred around 5:33pm, adding that among the victims were hairdressers, apprentice and grocery shop attendants.
“The victims were rushed to Ajifat Hospital at Ohio Road, G-Tab, Titi Oluwa and General Hospital. A lot of properties were destroyed. Many people died too.
“It was the gas seller who received the call while selling gas. The fire jumped and affected other shops. Even people not staying in the street were among the victims,” she said.
Another witness Shola Abiodun said his three children got burnt by the fire, adding that they were rushed to the General Hospital for treatment.
“I was not around when it happened. A neighbour called me to rush down but did not say the reason. My three children were affected and they were rushed to the General Hospital for treatment,” he said.
A resident John Oracle lamented the lack of basic safety rules of most gas sellers in the area, attributing the explosion to ignorance on the shop owner’s part.
He also blamed the emergency response team for not coming in good time, adding that it was residents that rescued the victims.
Reacting to the explosion, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said it was as a result of gas leakage, confirming that fire ignited as a result of a telephone call by an unidentified resident.
“The fire escalated to shops and bungalows behind the shops. Unfortunately, four persons in all died. Two children a male and female died on the spot. The female child was evacuated before responders arrived the scene while the male child was bagged by the rescue team and handed over to his family. The other two died at the hospital.
“The entire area has been cordoned and post disaster assessment conducted by the LRT revealed that three children and two adult female were seriously burnt and have been taken to burns center at Gbagada by the LASEMA medical unit.
“As a result of visible cracks and intensity of fire, it is advised that a controlled demolition should be carried out on the burnt structure in order to prevent any secondary incident,” said Nosa Okunbor, the spokesman for LASEMA. (opera)