Panic as Fire En­gulfs Fill­ing Sta­tion at La­gos Air­port

THISDAY - - NEWS - Chinedu Eze

Ma­jor tragedy was averted yesterday when a fill­ing Sta­tion man­aged by Forte Oil in­side the Mur­tala Muhammed Air­port premises was yesterday burnt by fire.

Pet­ri­fied trav­ellers and other air­port users jumped out from fa­cil­i­ties and other ar­eas near the fill­ing sta­tion, lo­cated less than 200 me­tres to the Gen­eral Avi­a­tion Ter­mi­nal (GAT) of the air­port.

As the smoke bil­lowed into the sky and re­al­is­ing that it was a fill­ing sta­tion that was burn­ing, mo­torists com­ing from Ikeja stopped sud­denly and many wanted to go back in an area al­ready in the throes of heavy traf­fic snarl, thereby ex­ac­er­bat­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

The strug­gle to es­cape gave rise to grid­lock and bed­lam, as peo­ple ran hel­ter-skel­ter when the fire seem­ingly raged be­yond control.

It was not clear what led to the fire out­break but THIS­DAY gath­ered that the fire might have started in­side a fuel tanker parked very close to the fill­ing sta­tion.

The fire in­ci­dent which later spread into the fill­ing sta­tion at about 2:00 p.m. caused panic be­cause be­hind the sta­tion is avi­a­tion oil de­pot owned by Forte Oil and two more sta­tions op­po­site Bris­tow He­li­copters and Concord ter­mi­nal on the GAT road, which ex­its into Agege Mo­tor Road.

Also very close to the fill­ing sta­tion that burnt were of­fices of the Fed­eral Air­ports Au­thor­ity of Nige­ria (FAAN) ac­counts sec­tion made largely of wooden pre­fab­ri­ca­tion, few me­tres from the head of­fice of the Nige­rian Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (NCAA).

While the panic lasted, mo­torists from Ikeja could not re­verse out of path of the fire, forc­ing many to brace it and drove past the fill­ing sta­tion, while oth­ers left their cars and ran for their lives on foot.

Within five min­utes the fire started, the two round­abouts at the en­try and exit of the do­mes­tic ter­mi­nal, known as MMA2 were blocked by fear-stricken mo­torists who be­came con­fused as thick smoke from the fire rose into the sky and painted the white-blue clouds black.

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