Many injured as explosion rocks building packed with firecrackers in Lagos

published on Wednesday, 26 December 2012

At least one person died and many people were injured and cars destroyed when a three-storey building packed with firecrackers went up in flames on Wednesday morning on Lagos Island.

Witnesses said the explosion went off around 9.30a.m as the city marked Boxing Day amid a lull in business activities.

The building is said to be located on Oko Awo Street in the popular Jankara area of Lagos, close to King Ado Secondary School.

A resident said the fire broke out when a small boy ignited a firecracker popularly known as �knockout,� which hit some of the stocks of unsold fireworks in the building.

Fire fighters, rescue agencies and policemen swiftly deployed on the scene and battled the huge blaze.

Within minutes of the explosion, the fire spread to a nearby building, sending hundreds of residents, traders and shoppers fleeing in the usually boisterous market area.

No fewer than eight multi-storey buildings and 10 cars were consumed as the raging fire spread, aided by the dry harmattan wind.

Initially, no death was recorded although many injured persons while rushed to nearby hospitals with varying degrees of injuries.

However, as rescue operations got underway, one corpse was noticed.

There were initial speculations around the country that a bomb had exploded in Lagos while a report said a plane crashed in the city.

Spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, Yushau shuaibu, confirmed the incident in an SMS to PUNCH.

�NEMA has mobilised response agencies and volunteers to an explosion in a building suspected to be loaded with �knockouts� in Jankara area of Lagos. Search and Rescue Officers of NEMA had a hectic time to reach the place due to traffic and crowds,� he said.

Firecrackers are banned in Nigeria although it is a common fare during
Christmas and New Year celebrations in the country.

More details as the story develops.

�-The Punch
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN