By Faith Nyasuguta
In Lagos, Nigeria, a gas explosion has killed at least five people, among them a child, an emergency services official has revealed to media outlets.
According to a National Emergency Management Agency spokesperson, three men, one woman and a ten-year-old boy had died. A rescue operation is ongoing.
Reports indicate that the fire broke out after a cylinder exploded at a gas shop in the highly populated Mushin area of Lagos.
In about an hour, the fire was extinguished. Authorities indicated that 10 people were rescued alive and that they were treated and discharged on the spot.
The cause of the explosion is not yet known but authorities suspect that one of the gas cylinders exploded as a result of a fire close to the gas shop and work being done on one of the cylinders.
At the scene of the explosion, a crowd lined behind a barricade as rescue workers and some residents took away the gas cylinders left within the premises while remains of the vehicles destroyed were packed at one corner.
In Nigeria, gas explosions are common, particularly in Lagos, a city boasting a population of over 14 million people.
Among the most recent cases is an October 2020 case when an explosion at a gas station killed eight people and razed many buildings.
Two months ago, the Lagos state government constituted a team to monitor outlets where gas is stored in commercial quantities and execute safety audits in the state.
At the moment 1,850 places have been surveyed out of which 15 were closed for missing to comply with safety standards, according to Lanre Mojola, the director-general Lagos State Safety Commission.
In July 2021, Nigerian federal lawmakers asked authorities to design a strategy to regulate the use of old gas cylinders, arguing that “the continued use of old cylinders can cause explosions especially in poorly controlled environments.”
A committee has already been constituted to probe the incident.