A gas explosion in Lagos on Tuesday killed at least five people, including a child, an emergency services official told The Associated Press.
A National Emergency Management Agency spokesperson confirmed three men, one woman and a ten-year-old boy had died, adding the rescue operation was ongoing.
The fire broke out after a cylinder exploded at a gas shop in the densely populated Mushin area of Lagos.
It was extinguished in about one hour. Authorities said 10 people were rescued alive and that they were treated and discharged on the spot.
The cause of the explosion is not known yet but authorities are suspecting 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 carried away the gas cylinders left within the premises while remains of the vehicles destroyed were packed at one corner.
Gas explosions are common in Africa’s most populous country, especially in Lagos, a city of more than 14 million people.
One of the most recent was in October 2020 when an explosion at a gas station killed eight people and razed many buildings.
Two months ago, the Lagos state government set up a team to monitor outlets where gas is stored in commercial quantity and carry out a safety audit in the state.
So far, 1,850 places were surveyed out of which 15 were closed for not complying with safety standards, according to Lanre Mojola, director-general Lagos State Safety Commission.
In July this year, federal lawmakers in Nigeria 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 been formed to investigate the incident.