UPDATED: At Least Two Dead, Vehicles Destroyed As Pipeline Explodes In Ijegun
Two people have been killed and dozens of vehicles burnt on Thursday after thieves breached a fuel pipeline causing an explosion, emergency services said.
The incident, which happened in the early hours in the Ijegun area of Lagos, is the latest in a long string of such accidents.
“We have recovered two burnt bodies and rescued eight others with severe burns,” Lagos State Emergency Mangement Agency (LASEMA) head Femi Osanyintolu told newsmen.
He said more than 30 vehicles caught fire, adding that the inferno was caused by vandals who broke open a state-run pipeline in order to steal petrol.
Security agents intercepted the thieves as they were transferring the petrol to their trucks, Osanyintolu said.
“In a bid to escape arrest, the vandals spilled some of the petrol into drainages and set it on fire,” he said.
“The fire then spread back to the point where the vandals had siphoned the fuel and exploded,” he said.
Osanyintolu said firefighters were battling to put out the inferno, adding that the toll might rise further.
Ibrahim Farinloye, the spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told AFP the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which owns the pipeline, had been informed.
“Vandals are responsible for the incident and some of them are affected in the inferno,” he said.
He said the area had been cordoned off, and called on the NNPC to shut down the pipeline to cut off the fire.
Footages all over social media capture the flames and people running helter-skelter in a bid to avoid being caught up in the fire.
Ijegun, Lagos State is currently on fire due to pipeline vandalism.
I urge everyone living around that vicinity to move to neighboring town for their safety.
— Akorede J. Ayanbisi (@theBussmarn) July 4, 2019
— OMOBA (@ay4rill) July 4, 2019
Fire outbreak in Ijegun community in Lagos.
According to reports, an explosion occurred from a vandalised oil pipeline. pic.twitter.com/z9VHw36LJF
— #BBNaija Laila Ijeoma (@LailaIjeoma) July 4, 2019
Ijegun right now..
The pipe line has busted again.
We thank God the fire has reduced. The road to ijegun has been blocked for now
Let’s pray for those staying around pipeline and stay safe
But chill did did guy say”what is all this onomatopoeia? “😂😭 pic.twitter.com/jEW1k1Ddir
— first daughter (@d_reflector) July 4, 2019
Ijegun fire outbreak… ThankGod fi life… We safe… 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/pSoA2CS6tF
— Okegwu Thankgod (@Ijegun_boi) July 4, 2019
— NENNIE (@GloryNnabugwu) July 4, 2019
There is serious fire burning at ijegun Lagos it’s still burning right now pic.twitter.com/DQn5L54bOj
— Mayowa Durodoye (@Mayormaxx) July 4, 2019
— ♔♚ D’ Alake of Lagos ♕♛ (@JabulaniFarms) July 4, 2019
IJEGUN on 🔥 🔥 🔥…. please help contact rescue teams pic.twitter.com/VcQKI8E6Qi
— Wunmy adeleye (@Wunmysho) July 4, 2019
— OMOBA (@ay4rill) July 4, 2019
Nigeria runs a network of pipelines that transport crude and petrol across the vast nation.
Hundreds of lives have been lost in recent years from fuel theft that culminates in a fire or explosion.
On Monday, at least 45 people were killed and more than 100 injured in Ahumbe, in the central state of Benue, when a petrol tanker crashed and then exploded as a crowd gathered to scoop up leaking fuel.
In June, at least 30 people were killed in a petrol tanker fire in southern Rivers state.