A wildfire broke out on Wednesday at the Olusosun dump, in the Ojota area of Lagos State, consuming some vehicles, as residents panicked over possible health hazards of the smoke.
While the cause of the fire had yet to be definitely ascertained, it was learnt that officials of the Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and Parks and Gardens, were battling to put out the fire which stopped vehicular movement.
Our correspondent gathered that many residents, motorists and commuters in the area were held in traffic as thick smoke billowed into the sky from the landfill.
The gridlock was said to have affected the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Tollgate, Seven-Up and the state secretariat areas.
The Director of the state fire service, Rasak Fadipe, said the agency was alerted to the fire around 4pm, adding that it immediately deployed four water trucks in the scene.
Fadipe, who said the firefighters were having a tough time fighting the flames due to the high wind velocity, said the damage caused by the fire could only be determined after it had been put out.
He said, “We have LASEMA and Parks and Gardens’ officials complementing our effort. We have also asked Julius Berger to bring in their water trucks because we need constant supply of water.
“The affected place is the Olusosun dump. The fire covered the entire area and it is threatening the LAGbus compound, where a lot of vehicles are parked. The LAGbus yard shares a fence with the dump. Some of the buses lined up around the fence have already been affected. But we have also tried to curtail the fire from getting to the petrol dispensing pump.
“The fire is still raging (9pm) and there is a high wind velocity which is aiding the spread. The fire is erupting from the back of the fence, which is not yet accessible. We don’t know the cause of the fire, but sometimes there can be chemical reactions from the dump which may have caused it.”
Our correspondent learnt that some trucks and stores around the area were also burnt by the fire.
The Cleaner Lagos Initiative, in a statement on the incident, urged residents not to panic, adding that the fire was being handled.
“It is necessary to clarify that the fire at Olusosun dump wasn’t deliberately set by the Lagos State Government or any individual. It broke out as a result of the pockets of unstable gases caused by indiscriminate dumping and further compounded by dry weather,” it said.