Posted by News Express | 28 April 2020 | 3,839 times
By FOSTER OBI, Lagos
Street urchins popularly known as area boys are demanding compensation for putting out the fire that gutted the NNPC petrol filling station on College Road Ogba, Lagos.
At the scene of the fire disaster, the boys were seen telling the fire servicemen not to take the glory as they had battled the fire for more than one hour before the servicemen showed up.
One the boys told News Express: “Don’t mind these people, they have come now and they are behaving as if they were the ones that did the job. If we did not fight the fire, the story will be different.”
An eyewitness who corroborated the story said the fire fighters came after the fire had gone far. He, however, said that although the area boys tried by putting their life on the line, the coming of the Fire Service from Lagos and later the Federal, made the difference because the fire was raging before they introduced a chemical that made it to subside.
Contrary to earlier reports, the fire only consumed the filling station building and an adjoining car shop. An eyewitness said that out of the ten cars in the shop, a Ranger Rover Sport and a Toyota Camry was rescued while the remaining eight cars got burnt.
News Express observed that while the offices belonging to the petrol filling station got burnt, a supermarket called Maranda, and Springboard kiddies shop did not experience a scratch from the fire.
Bystanders said the owner of the supermarket was seen lamenting and shouting, thinking that her business had been razed before she got to the scene to discover that everything was intact. Some people believe that the area boys there would have looted the shop but for the presence of policemen that were many in number.
The fire which created serious havoc began when petrol touched the battery head of the tanker discharging fuel and sparked off flames.
Investigation showed that many people within the neighbourhood were already moving their belongings before the fire fighters came.
One of the residents told News Express: “When I saw the fire I was afraid. I could not park anything because I did not know where to start from. I just took my documents, including my international passport, and left.”
A woman who was filled with consternation was more concerned that the huge crowd there did not bother about coronavirus anymore as the fire disaster was too overwhelming.
Residents believe that car owners and other customers will definitely miss the petrol station as it is considered the only station with right pump on the whole of college road.
News Express discovered that before a filling station was sited there, the people were being short changed by the filling station opposite and all other petrol stations on that road because their pumps were fraudulently adjusted. Both private and commercial car owners saw it as a relief when the station called Taibod was sited their before it was rebranded NNPC. When the station opposite it saw it has been deserted, it also rebranded.
“It remains to be seen if the opposite filling station will go back to the old ways of short changing people,” said James who claimed he buys fuel from both filling stations.
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