Residents of Abule Egba had a terrifying start to the week and indeed the year when a fire broke out, the evening of January 19th, 2020. This fire is now responsible for immeasurable damage to property and the loss of a yet to be confirmed number of lives.
Before the fire broke out, a Twitter user sounded the alarm over the smell of petrol in the air.
In subsequent tweets, we see him attempt and fail to reach fire services present in the Agege area. Now, while we don’t have the most reliable emergency response services in Nigeria, the Lagos State Fire Service can be reached on 0702 833 8981 in emergencies, allowing them to mobilise whatever teams are at their disposal when informed. Also, the Lagos State emergency services can be reached on 112, in other situations. Both numbers should be saved on your phones for times of crisis.
The fire is believed to be caused by a pipeline leak, the work of vandals who are certain to be a part of Nigeria’s 55.4% unemployed numbers or the 20% that are under-employed.
In 2006, a similar pipeline explosion occurred owed to vandals, claiming the lives of around 260 people and the destruction of several homes and property in Abule-Egba.
In 2018, vandals caused another inferno, again at Abule Egba. While no lives no lost, at least 63 vehicles, 98 shops, petrol stations and others were lost.
With very little to show in efforts to reduce these numbers, 2020’s inferno may just be another one of many soon-to-come, by-products of unemployment in the country.
At its worst, this is what the fires looked like.
Thanks to the hard work of firefighters that stayed on the scene from around 9 PM when the fires started, the fires were eventually put out around 3:30 AM.
It is believed that at least three people lost their lives to this incident, including a young boy.