No fewer than four persons were on Sunday, feared dead after three petroleum tankers and an articulated truck exploded on Kara Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The explosion occurred at about 1:30a.m. following collision of two tankers laden with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and gas on the outward Lagos lane.
Apart from the two tankers, the fire extended to another tanker and an articulated vehicle.
Of the victims, two were burnt to their bones. The four articulated trucks were also burnt beyond recognition as the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) attributed the incident to reckless driving of the driver of one of the articulated vehicles.
The incident caused serious traffic jams on the expressways as many road users were stranded until the intervention of traffic officials. Although the incident happened after midnight, a lot of vehicles were on the bridge as a result of the curfew imposed to check the spread of coronavirus.
The Federal Government had ordered a nationwide curfew from 10:00p.m. to 4:00a.m. and vehicles which are unable to make it to Lagos or leave the nation’s commercial capital before 10:00p.m. are usually stranded on the bridge till 4:00a.m. when security operatives open the road to traffic.
It was gathered that rescue operations commenced almost immediately, but the difficulty to access the scene led to delay in putting out the fire. The motor boy of one of the trucks was one of the survivors, as he sustained minor injuries and was treated on the spot.
LASEMA Director-General, Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said rescue operations were completed at about 4:00p.m. He said the rescue operation was conducted by the combined efforts of the Lagos Fire Service, Lagos Response Unit and other stakeholders like UBA Fire Safety Team and Julius Berger Fire Team due to the magnitude of the inferno.
The Federal Road Safety Corps Sector Commander, Lagos State, Olusegun Ogungbemide, empathised with the motoring public, especially those on essential duties while the rescue operation lasted, assuring them that the operatives would remain at the scene till normalcy is restored.
The Sector Commander advised operators of vehicles used for transporting highly inflammable petroleum products to operate them in strict conformity with safety and operation standards prescribed by the 1957 United Nations Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR), which Nigeria acceded to as a contracting party.
The fire was eventually put out at 5:17p.m.