Injured persons in Thursday’s gas explosion that rocked Cele area of Elliot along Ajuwon Road in the Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area of the state have recounted their near-death experiences to City Round.
The incident was caused by a 30 tonnes LPG tanker which gutted fire and affected 11 cars, a tricycle, buildings, a plant market and an event centre. About 15 persons also reportedly sustained varying degrees of injury.
The Acting Coordinator of the Lagos Territorial Office, National Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, told one of our correspondents at the site of the accident that the gas tanker was leaving the Manna Gas Refilling Plant for quantity re-weighing when it exploded and affected domestic gas cylinders in the gas plant.
As those who lost valuables to the inferno counted their losses, the injured were rushed to the Pacific Hospital and Ancilla (Catholic) Hospital, both in the area for treatment.
One of the survivors and resident in the area who gave his name only as Gift, who sustained burns in his left arm, said he was happy to be alive.
He said, “I was in my house when I saw the blazing of the fire. My house is upstairs and I tried to run. I quickly pushed away my wife and kids. But as I made to follow them, the fire caught me. I cannot say how I escaped.’’
Gift stated that the gas truck had been there in the area three days before the incident, adding, “I heard the driver arguing with the workers about the quantity to be delivered. I didn’t know that an incident that would affect me loomed.’’
Taiwo, a mechanic opposite the gas plant, who lost 10 vehicles belonging to his customers, said he was working on a Nissan car with his partner when the explosion occurred.
He said dejectedly, “Ten vehicles were destroyed. I don’t know what we are going to tell the customers. We saw death but cannot exactly say how we escaped. It was miraculous. We could have been burnt to death. The vehicles were all burnt as you can see.’’
Some of the residents told City Round that the gas truck driver, who suffered serious burns, had a disagreement with the gas plant attendants over the gas quantity and was driving out of the plant for reweighing when the truck’s discharging valve ruptured and ignited fire. They further said the driver who drove the truck when the explosion occurred was not the one who brought it to the gas plant.
The manager of the affected S&Y event centre also suffered injuries in the incident. When City Round visited the Pacific Hospital where the manager and some others injured persons were taken to, he wore bandages like armour and receiving intravenous fluid. Intermittently, he held his head for pity but was continually consoled by family members in the ward.
Another victim who refused to give his name told one of our correspondents that he was driving out of the event centre when the explosion engulfed his car.
He said, “I am lucky to be alive. I thank God.’’