‘It will be a sad Christmas for us… ’
Victims recount tales of woe after Ojuelegba inferno
With 24 days to the end of 2015, it will be a very bleak Christmas and New Year celebrations for victims of Saturday early morning inferno that broke the spirit and brought tears to their eyes when a Forte Oil fuel tanker carrying about 33,000 litres of petrol, fell from the bridge at Ojuelegba, Lagos State and spilled its content into the floor and drainages around the area.
The ensuing blaze from the explosion spread like wild fire through the harmatan haze destroying everything in its path, including vehicles parked under the bridge and neighbouring buildings.
Daniel Emedago, owner of a commercial vehicle with registration number LAGOS AS076, who lived at Clegg Street, caught a pitiable sight yesterday. He was overlooking the ruins of his only source of livelihood. “I was oblivious of what was happening until I woke up at about 5a.m. and wanted to take my bath before starting the day’s work.
“As soon as I saw the unusual scene, I ran towards my vehicle to ensure it was out of danger, but I was late. The vehicle had been burnt to ashes. Even at that time, we were so confused and didn’t know the source of the fire was from Ojuelegba. Though there was no victim, a landlady, who probably because she was old and not used to such horrible scene, fainted and has been unconscious since Saturday.”
Jinadu Oluwashina, a biochemistry graduate of the Bells University of Technology, whose house was razed said: “I ran out of my room to help my brother, who is asthmatic. My parents were also unconscious, so I called for help and our neighbours came to our rescue but I have lost everything, including my credentials to that fire. I am so confused right now.”
Gbenga Akinboye also lost his vehicle with registration number LAGOS KSF 698XK that was packed under the bridge. When The Guardian visited the scene yesterday, he was seen surrounded by neighbours and colleagues who came around to console him.
Although normalcy has since returned at Ojuelegba, many residents are, however, puzzled over government’s inability to enforce its laws. The tanker, a fire officer attached to the Federal Fire Service at Ojuelegba, said the tanker fell on the bridge and exploded upon impact with the resulting fire spreading to burn down some cars parked under the bridge.
That incidence occurred a few metres away from where a container skidded off an articulated vehicle a few months ago and fell on a car, killing the two occupants. The seemingly worried fire officer, who spoke to The Guardian on the condition of anonymity, said the incidence could have thrown the nation into mourning but for providence.
According to him, the presence of the fire service near the scene averted what would have been a calamitous December for Lagosians, considering the fact that it happened at night.
He said: “The tanker was approaching from the bridge when it skidded off very close to the scene of the last incident. The fuel from the tanker was discharging into the canal, which flowed towards the stadium. It was from that point that the fire started, which threw the place into confusion.”
The fire officer also lamented that articulated vehicles and tankers have continued to climb the bridge even when they were urged to stop using the bridge after the last ugly incident.
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