NO fewer than 30 vehicles at a car mart were affected by fire which gutted an NNPC petrol station at Ogba, Lagos on Monday.
Eight of the vehicles were burnt beyond repair.
Two buildings were also partially affected by the inferno which started around 1pm while a 50,000 capacity tanker was discharging Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) at the filling station.
It was gathered that there was a spark during the PMS offload, triggering a fire and an explosion. Billows of smoke were seen from about 20km away.
Sources said the fire escalated because the petrol station owners did not call emergency workers on time and tried to put it out with their fire extinguisher.
The Nation reports that residents trooped to the disaster location with crowd stretching as far as Oyemekun Junction in defiance of the lockdown order emplaced to contain further spread of the novel Coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
Our correspondent gathered that all occupants of the shopping complex and nearby buildings fled as soon as they heard people screaming fire, run for your lives! It was learnt that the petrol station workers were the ones who raised the alarm and they all fled when they realised they could not contain the fire.
A woman said, “My house is just behind the car shop. At first we did not know what was going on. Suddenly, people were shouting fire! fire! They were calling people to run out and as we ran out, I heard a big bang.”
Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu said the petrol station owners did not put enough safety measures in place, adding that the tanker was trying to transload its content when the fire broke out.
Oke-Osanyintolu lamented that it took them 30 minutes to get the crowd under control before they could work.
“This incident is due to the fact that this tanker which has a capacity of about 50,000 was trying to transload its content at the petrol station. The uniqueness about this particular incident is that we have a gas plant just nearby, people are selling things at this story building and there’s a car shop beside the petrol station.