By Olasunkanmi Akoni
At least two, yet to be identified persons have been consumed in an early hour fire on Thursday, when a pipeline of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, exploded at Ijagemo, Ijegun area of Ikotun-Igando Local Government Area.
Several vehicles said to be over 30 were also burnt to ashes in the inferno, while some people sustained minor injuries.
Vanguard gathered that the incident which was as a result of activities of pipeline vandals, occurred at about 6.am, while siphoning petroleum products from a vandalized pipeline in the area.
However, the fire was later put out by rescue team, led by men of the Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Emergency Management Authourity, LASEMA, Nigeria Police, Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, among others.
General Manager of LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, who confirmed the number of casualties, said the charred bodies have been removed and taken to General Hospital.
Oke-Osanyintolu, narrated thus, “On arrival of Lagos Rescue Team, LRT at the scene of the incident, it was gathered that some vandals were engaged in bunkering activities at Fire Junction,Ijegun within the vicinity where an NNPC pipeline was buried. “The vandals had already siphoned petrol into a 33,000litres tanker while a second tanker of the same capacity was being loaded when security agencies suddenly intercepted the vandals.
“While trying to escape,some of the siphoned fuel spilled into the drainage and the vandals were alleged to have set the spilled fuel on fire in a bid to deter the security agencies from apprehending them.
“The fire eventually returned to the pipeline point where the vandals siphoned the fuel and exploded with escalating fire which led to two fatalities and over 30 vehicles burnt, eight persons were also injured.
“The actual loss will be determined upon conducting post disaster enumeration after the fire has been put out.”
Also, an eyewitness, Mrs.Toyin Hammed, who corroborated LASEMA boss version of the incident, said, “The NNPC pipeline exploded at about 6am, when the vandals, after siphoning the petroleum products set fire on the pipeline.
“The vandals, who are often armed with weapons, have been carrying out the illegal acts for years, before the latest incidence.”