Disaster struck at Ojuelegba, in Lagos, when a Forte Oil petrol tanker rammed into houses and burst into flames in the early hours of yesterday at Barracks bus stop.
The resultant firebreak led to several vehicles and at least two houses burnt, even as another tanker carrying petrol exploded almost at the same spot at Ojuelegba.
The first fire occurred around 5:30 a.m as a petrol tanker skidded off the road and burst into flames, burning commercial buses and other vehicles parked under the Ojuelegba Bridge.
Then around 11 am, there were reports of another fire outbreak few metres away from the spot where the first fire occurred.
Witnesses said the fresh fire was caused by another tanker, which had broken down in the area around 7 a.m and was spilling petrol into a nearby canal.
The fire, however, did not break out until around 11 a.m. when residents heard a loud explosion and a huge ball of fire rose into the morning sky, spreading along Western Avenue toward oncoming traffic.
A witness, Oluwatosin Ogundadegbe, said he was in his car when he heard the explosion.
He said he and other road users rushed out of the car and ran for dear lives as the rampaging fire was spreading swiftly towards the traffic.
“The explosion was so loud that I heard it even with my windows up. The traffic around that side now is epic. I was on the phone with my old man when I saw the fire approaching the bridge, I jumped out of the car and just kept running back,” he said.
He added that he heard another explosion inside the police barracks adjacent the road but cannot tell the cause of the explosion.
Mr. Ogundadegbe said he was so scared that he left his car on the road and took a car out of the area because he thought the fire might escalate because “tonnes of petrol tankers were parked on the road.”
He said he watched as the fire consumed the head office of the popular Baba Ijebu lotto.
According to him, the Conoil filling station just after the bridge may have been affected but he did not stop to confirm.
Other witnesses said the fire might be spreading to nearby neighbourhoods through the canal that seems to be saturated with petrol.
When contacted, the spokesperson of National Emergency Management Agency said he was not in town and cannot speak on the incident.
The director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasaq Fadipe, did not answer nor return several calls and text messages sent to him.