It may seem that the light that ignited a gas explosion on Thursday night came from a Chinese Restaurant.
The restaurant is among the many businesses within the premises of OPIC Plaza.
OPIC Plaza was the epicentre of where a moving Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tanker was located before the blast.
The LPG tanker was reported to be leaking fuel before the explosion occurred.
Preliminary investigation report
Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, made these known in Lagos on Saturday while reading a preliminary report on its investigation of the incident.
“Close investigations reveal that the leaking cooking gas from the truck was ignited by the exposed fire from the kitchen of the New Chinese restaurant inside OPIC Plaza. As a result of wind action, the whole area of OPIC Structure was engulfed with fire. The fire trailed the cooking gas resulting in the combustion of the gas tanker outside the compound,’’ he said.
The inferno from the explosion resulted in severe damage to the OPIC Plaza building structure, Oke-Osanyintolu added.
According to him, LASEMA’s “Tiger Team’’ received a distress call at about 10.57 p.m. on Thursday and immediately responded, together with its private sector technical partner.
“On arrival at the scene of the incident, it was discovered that a 13.5-ton gas tanker in motion was leaking its content.”
Five dead, 13 injured
The resulting fire resulted in 13 burn causalities at the scene who were given first aid before being taken to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Gbagada General Hospital for further treatment.
“Unfortunately, three adult males were further discovered dead at the scene and their bodies were bagged and transported to the morgue. Also, two victims died while undergoing medical attention at LASUTH, hence a total of five fatalities were recorded as at the time this report was put together,’’ he said.
He added that LASEMA and other responders evacuated other occupants of the building to a safe place, while the LASG Fire Service ensured that the fire was curtailed from spreading into nearby buildings and completely extinguished the inferno.
He said also that the crowd and traffic control were managed with the help of the Police, LASTMA and FRSC.
OPIC Plaza ‘disaster zone’
Oke-Osanyintolu also said that the OPIC Plaza had been cordoned off as a disaster zone and prepared for further investigations, adding that 24 vehicles were burnt in the inferno.
He appealed to tanker owners to ensure that their trucks were certified road worthy before embarking on any journey.
“All tankers conveying volatile gases should be road worthy before embarking on a journey. All commercial buildings should develop an Emergency Response Plan and Fire Prevention Plan in case of an emergency,’’ he said.
Oke-Osanyintolu admonished Lagos residents to feel free to call the toll free lines 112 and 767 in the event of any emergency.