…As death toll rises to 3
By SEYE OJO
Fresh facts emerged yesterday on the firecracker explosions that wreaked havoc in Lagos on Wednesday as father of the boy that was burnt to death in the fire reportedly jumped down from the third floor of one of the affected buildings.
The man, who was simply identified as Murphy, is currently receiving treatment at the General Hospital, Lagos, even as death toll rose to three. Investigation revealed that he is at B3 Ward 11 of the hospital.
As gathered, Murphy operated a restaurant on the third floor of one of the burnt buildings. He was already at the restaurant with his son before the tragedy struck. He was said to have jumped down from one of the floors when smoke and fire had taken over the staircases.
The hospital sources said he was injured but he did not have any fracture. When Daily Sun correspondent visited the hospital yesterday, he was not allowed to see Murphy on the grounds that it was against the hospital’s rule.
Sources at the General Hospital, Lagos, further told Daily Sun that three persons were brought in dead (BID) to the hospital on Wednesday while 28 injured persons were admitted into the hospital.
According to the sources, the three dead bodies were burnt beyond recognition and had been taken to the mortuary, adding that some of the 28 injured persons were treated and discharged immediately.
“Twenty-eight persons were brought to this hospital on Wednesday and another three were BID. We admitted the 28 persons and treated them. Some of them were discharged immediately while we have only four still on admission in this hospital and they are responding to treatment.
“Apart from that, we referred those that are in critical conditions to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). Their conditions were so critical that we could not handle them in this hospital,” one of the sources said.
When Daily Sun visited the scene of the explosion yesterday, some of the traders were sighted evacuating some of their goods from the affected buildings. Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) were still demolishing some of the affected buildings.
Also, men of the Lagos State Fire Service, Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were on ground to perform their duties. The streets around the scene such as Ojo Giwa, Okoya and Iga-Idunganran were cordoned off by the security agents.
General Manager, LASEMA, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the search, rescue and recovery operation at the scene was carried out throughout the night. He noted that 12 houses were affected; 10 were severely affected while two were moderately affected.
He stated that three of the affected buildings had been pulled down while other buildings that could endanger other houses in the vicinity would also be demolished to make the place safe.
His words: “Our duty is just to do the search, rescue and recovery operations. The cause of the incident will be ascertained by relevant government authorities. As at yesterday (Wednesday), we were able to recover one body and it has been deposited at the General Hospital, Isolo. The recovery operation has not stopped in order to curtail the spread of the fire.
“We discovered that many of the affected buildings have some explosives. If they are not pulled down permanently, they will constitute hazards. We want to make sure that there are no more explosives or any other item under the debris to make sure that the situation is put under full control.”
Chairman of the Lagos Island Local Government, Mr. Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni, described the incident as a great loss and prayed that God would restore the affected people.
“It is a loss that we did not expect. We pray that God will bless those who were affected by this fire incident. Also, our people should desist from trading in illegal fireworks. It does not portend any good for the populace and the citizens, even themselves,” he said.