An explosion on Sunday killed at least 15 people and destroyed about 50 buildings after a fire broke out in a suburb of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, emergency services said.
Several people were injured and taken to hospital, according to Ibrahim Farinloye, zonal coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Plumes of smoke billowed into the air as people watched, while firefighters tried to quench the flames, a witness said.
Farinloye said some of the buildings collapsed while many roof-tops were blown up.
“We cannot actually say immediately what caused it. There was fire on the pipeline,”
“The explosion destroyed over 50 residential houses”, Farinloye said.
Pipeline fires in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude oil producer, are common and they are mostly caused by theft and sabotage. The methods used to steal oil often result in accidents that cause fires.
In a statement, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, Dr Kennie Obateru, on Sunday, said the blast occurred after a truck hit some gas cylinders stacked in a gas processing plant located near the corporation’s System 2B pipeline right of way.
Obateru added that preliminary findings indicated that the impact of the explosion was huge that it led to the collapse of nearby houses and damaged some NNPC pipelines.
According to him, when the corporation heard about the explosion, it halted ongoing pumping operation on the Atlas Cove-Mosimi pipeline which was active at the time of the incident, while efforts are being made to curtail the fire.
The NNPC spokesman appealed to members of the public and residents of the affected communities to remain calm and assured that the temporary shutdown of the petroleum products pipeline would not affect the normal supply of products to Lagos and its environs.
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