The pipeline fire outbreak at Ijeododo, Lagos, has escalated, four days after attempts to put it out left it merely smouldering on Tuesday.
The fire began on Monday, but was reduced to mere thick smoke by Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, despite the efforts of a joint task force, the instruments used by suspected vandas in piercing the pipelines made access difficult.
The spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) Ibrahim Farinloye told NAN at the scene of the fire on Friday that the inferno was almost put off around 4:20 p.m. on Thursday, but for the obstruction caused by the equipment used by the suspected petroleum product thieves.
“The joint effort of the officials of NEMA, NNPC and Fire fighters almost succeeded in putting out the fire on Thursday but for the vandals’ pipe used for scooping products, which posed serious hindrance.
“This made the fire to come back more fiercely; efforts to combat it continued till 6:00 p.m when operations were suspended, to begin again on Friday,” he said.
Farinloye added that though all the smaller punctured points on the pipeline had been put off, there was still a source not yet discovered.
He said the emergency team discovered several jerrycans, hoses and 6 mm pipe connected to the NNPC line by the vandals.
NAN also reports that NEMA and NNPC officials reached the source of the pipeline fire only on Thursday, four days after the explosion and consequent fire began.
The difficulty in getting to the source of the fire, NAN reports, was made more difficult by the water-logged and marshy terrain of the area, which made it virtually for fire engines to get close.
Farinloye, however, told NAN that the construction of a catway plank bridge to the fire-point, which began on Tuesday, was continuing. It would aid the movement of specialised fire fighting equipment to the point.
He said, however, that there was no evidence that any of the suspected pipeline vandals was killed while they were carrying out the illegal drilling of the fuel pipelines that led to the explosion and consequent fire outbreak.