Many people were injured and cars destroyed when a multi-storey building packed with fire crackers and other types of goods went up in flames on Wednesday morning on Lagos Island.
Witnesses said the explosion went off around 9.30a.m as the city marked Boxing Day amid a lull in business activities.
The building is said to be located on Oko Awo Street in the popular Jankara area of Lagos, close to King Ado Secondary School.
Fire fighters and rescue agencies swiftly deployed on the scene and battled the huge blaze.
Within minutes of the explosion, the fire spread to a nearby building, sending hundreds of residents, traders and shoppers fleeing in the usually boisterous market area.
There were initial speculation around the country that a bomb had exploded in Lagos while a report said a plane crashed in the city.
The casualty figure is yet unknown although many injured persons have been rushed to the hospital with serious burns.
Fire crackers are banned in Nigeria although it is a common fare during Christmas and New Year celebrations in the country.
The National Emegency Management Agency (NEMA), has confirmed this morning’s powerful explosion that rocked two buildings on Lagos Island, a densely populated part of Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos State.
AP’s correspondent, Jon Gambrell, broke the story earlier this morning.
Mr. Yushau Shuaib, NEMA Head of Media and Publicity, in a statement, said the agency “has mobilized response agencies and volunteers to an explosion in a building suspected to be loaded with ‘knockouts’ in Jankara area of Lagos”
He added that “Search and Rescue officers of NEMA, are having a hectic time to reach the place due to traffic and crowds.”
A look at the pictures of the shattered building makes it astonishing, the kind of ‘knockouts’ that are so powerful, to cause such destruction.
NEMA concluded by saying it was on top of the situation.