₦500m worth of cars destroyed in an pipeline explosion in Lagos

12/23/2018

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What could be sadder than seeing all you’ve laboured for with sweat and blood being destroyed by fire? See the story of how some auto car dealers lost their livelihood to fire in Lagos.

It was a sad day and an experience that will not be forgotten in a hurry when a mighty inferno gutted and destroyed vehicles worth of N500m, just a few days to Christmas. It was particularly horrifying for a certain car auto dealer by name Usman Hamzat. Hamzat and some of his colleagues in the auto dealership just cleared some vehicles for sales during the yuletide season. Unfortunately for Usman, he lost 19 of these cars to the overwhelming power of the fire. Your number one online car sales portal - Naijauto, recounts this unfortunate incidence that reinforces the need for insurance for cars as a seller, and as a buyer.

The cause

It was his phone's ringtone that woke up Hamzat, who is an auto dealer, at around 2 am in the morning.  His hello response was met by the information that an explosion had caused a fire which was threatening to destroy his cars. Hamzat got dressed in haste and rushed out to try and rescue his merchandises by any means possible.

Naijauto gathered that the incident occurred at the Abule-Egba and Agege areas of Lagos, throwing its residents in a fog, as they took to their heels to save their lives. The fire which was as a result of a vandalised NNPC pipeline could not be quenched before destroying several houses, shops, and vehicles. It was recounted that pipeline vandals had busted a particular spot on the pipeline that passed through some drainage. After the vandals were done scooping PMS from this pipeline, they did not close it up. The leak resulting from this pipeline damage gushed into the drainage and flowed to an area known as Abattoir. It was from here that a spark caused the explosion which caused the fire outbreak. 

people-watching-the-remains-of-the-burnt-vehicles

People escaped for their lives and could only watch at a distance the ruin caused by the fire

Many people sustained injuries and wounds of different degrees as they scampered for their lives. The survivors could only watch after they got within a hair of losing their lives, as fire destroyed what they've acquired with much labour, blood, and sweat only ending in fire and tears. The Harmattan season did not help matters as it further invigorated the intensity of the fire, acting as a medium for the fire to destroy these cars, shops, and houses very quickly.

Reports from within the neighbourhood say that the vandals had successfully lifted Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) not less than three tanker loads, after which they left the pipeline in a state of disrepair.

The rescue operation

The ferociousness of the flame was so much that rescue efforts to stop it were almost proving abortive. When it was not yet clear that it was a pipeline explosion that caused it, people tried to put it off with different means while they waited for men of the Fire Service. When the Fire Service got there, the fire had already got the better of many parked cars, and all that could be done was to limit the damage. To prevent a fire from a single car source in summer is one thing, to prevent a pipeline explosion fire from spreading and then stopping it in Harmattan, is another cup of tea entirely.

fire-destroying-vehicles-without-abating

Men of the fire service couldn't rescue the vehicles

The Fire Service battled the fire initially with two water tankers which were exhausted in the space of 30 minutes. When it was clear that their efforts couldn't achieve much, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) arrived with support. After that the men of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation also came on the scene about one hour later, making it clear to people that it indeed was a pipeline explosion.

Security Agencies including the Nigerian Police were also on the site, taking a census of wounded people according to the directives of the Commissioner of police in Lagos, Imohimi Edgal. Edgal also instructed that the injured people should be taken to LASUTH to get free medical care.

Magnitude of loss

A total of four auto car dealers' shops were razed by the strong hand of the blazing fire. The fire consumed cars for sales that had just been cleared for the festive periods, with a total estimated worth of N500million. The vehicles destroyed by this fire include Toyota Corolla, Lexus and Mercedes Benz all with manufacture year between 2015 and 2017 with N2.9million as the cheapest.

Shocked Residents Recount As Over 50 Cars, 71 Shops, Houses, Razed In Abule Egba Pipeline explosion

LASEMA authorities counted the vehicles destroyed as thirty-eight in number, with tricycles also numbering four. Other properties wrecked by this fire include block of flats (2), rooms (30), shops (70), with about nine streets bearing the brunt of this devastation.

the-remains-of-shops-and-houses-after-the-fire

Houses and shops in the path of the fire were not spared!

The Nigerian Police also gave strong warnings to the vandals and people aiding and abetting them, but not without promising the perpetrators of this dastardly act not to sleep with both of their eyes closed as the Nigerian Police will soon catch-up with them.

Conclusion

Even though this is a very sad one especially for people who have lost means of livelihood, property, savings, and also sustained injury both physical and emotional. It lays bare the deficiencies of the lack of insurance culture for some car owners. It shouldn't take unpalatable experiences such as this to become wiser to secure the worth of assets in the event of any eventuality.

>>> You might also want to read 7 ways to prevent car fires in scorching summer

Segun Ogunbiyi
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