27 Dec 2012

Fireworks blaze rips through Nigerian city

7:04 am on 27 December 2012

Fire has ripped through a crowded neighbourhood of Nigeria's largest city of Lagos, killing at least one person and injuring 30 others after a huge explosion rocked a building storing fireworks.

The blast and fire led to panic in the densely packed area of Lagos with residents jumping from windows to flee and others salvaging goods from their shops in the neighbourhood's large market, AFP reports.

Fireworks continued to explode well after the fire began while smoke was heavy and the blaze intense, making it difficult for rescue workers and firefighters to approach the scene.

Huge crowds gathered in the area, including onlookers and those seeking to help.

Three tankers at the scene from the fire service later ran out of water and an emergency official said military personnel had been called in to help. More water arrived later in the day and the blaze appeared to be gradually subsiding.

Officials said the inferno appeared to have started at a warehouse storing fireworks, where a major explosion shook parts of the sprawling city, Nigeria's commercial hub.

An official from National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the body of one person had been removed from the site and the Red Cross said it had treated up to 30 injured people.

An emergency source said initial reports indicated that fire caused the explosion, but an official statement from NEMA later said the precise cause was yet to be determined.

A school across from the warehouse was badly damaged from the blast, with windows shattered and materials inside affected. Cars in the neighbourhood were gutted.