There was a massive explosion/implosion in the FESTAC area of Lagos State earlier this morning.
According to eyewitness reports, many residents were awakened from sleep by the unfortunate incident.
Some of them even scampered after hearing the loud explosion, out of fear that it was a bomb blast.
Videos on Twitter show thick black smoke billowing from the scene of the accident. This is the second major pipeline explosion that has rocked Lagos since the beginning of 2020.
— blood on the beat 🔊 (@officialUgoo) March 15, 2020
Nairametrics understands that there were were some casualties. An unspecified number of people are either dead or severely injured.
Many houses and cars were also damaged by the blast. On Twitter, eyewitnesses have shared images and videos showing the aftermath of the explosion/implosion, including this one by Mayowa Olagunju:
The aftermath of the Explosion at Festac today. I have never ever seen purple flames in my life before.
Just look at the wreckage to properties close to the site. THIS is Sick! pic.twitter.com/9b8OSTOzPc
— Mayowa Olagunju 💎❁ (@iam_doctormayor) March 15, 2020
READ ALSO: NNPC reacts to Lagos pipeline explosion
What exactly happened?
According to eyewitnesses, there was a loud explosion at about 8:45 am Sunday morning. The explosion happened around Bethlehem Girls College in the Abule Ado part of Festac Extension, in Amuwo Odofin.
— ThrillKidtheRapper (@Mind_Thriller) March 15, 2020
The school had some boarding students within its premises as at the time of the explosion. Unfortunately, there are strong indications that many of the casualties were recorded in the school.
The Chairman of Amuwo Odofin LGA, Valentine Buraimo, told Channels TV that some of the students were “trapped” and that efforts were underway to rescue them.
Videos on Twitter also show some of the students running for safety, away from the school. Some men within the vicinity of the school mobilised and went about the rescue mission, long before any intervention from official emergency responders.
I hope the owners and management of BETHLEHEM GIRLS COLLEGE has found them and done head counts? God bless these men who rushed in to help those kids.
It shall be well with your families and please keep them safe from any form of harm. Pedophiles are everywhere 😩😩😭. pic.twitter.com/I9gZlRs5cW
— Fav💖 (@Pebble_llicious) March 15, 2020
For the first time in my life, I witnessed a pipeline explosion. I ran from Abule-ado to Festac just for safety.MMy house is terribly scattered, we witnessed the whole ceiling falling on us.A whole boarding school is burnt down killing all the kids.Thank God for life 🙏 pic.twitter.com/DUszPPTEmS
— Li$a ⁷🖤 (@LisaMelz) March 15, 2020
Note a pipeline explosion?
Although initial reports suggested that this morning’s tragedy was caused by a pipeline explosion, the official account seems to suggest otherwise.
Nairametrics had earlier quoted Channels TV which reported that the explosion happened after a tipper caught fire near a pipeline while offloading a load of sand. The fire had reportedly spread to the pipeline, thereby triggering the explosion, according to the initial report.
However, a statement statement thatt was issued via Facebook by the Lagos State Fire Service, described the incident as an implosion. The brief statement said:
“Implosion in Lagos: Lagos State Fire Service is assuring the general public that the implosion is not connected with Pipeline but buildings on Fire in Ado Soba, Abule Ado, Amuwo Odofin & the situation is under control.”
A spokesman of the Lagos State Fire Service was later quoted quoted by Vanguard as saying that the explosion was not connected to a pipeline. He said:
“The effect was massive as people are currently trapped in the inferno which cause is yet to be determined. But I can tell you, it is connected with NNPC pipeline.
“Though, right now we have contacted authorities of NNPC to shut down supply through the nearby pipeline in the area which they obliged immediately in order to reduce possible incidents of carnage.
‘We gave mobilized our men in collaboration with other emergency responders to site in order to rescue lives as well as salvage properties.”
Recall that on January 18th, 2020, a pipeline exploded around Ekoro area, in Abule-Egba, Lagos. At least, three people lost their lives, even as several houses and vehicles were damaged.
As Nairametrics reported, the pipeline exploded exploded after some vandals allegedly ruptured it in a bid to scoop fuel.
NOTE: This article has been updated in order to reflect new findings regarding the explosion that happened earlier today.