The Nasarawa State Fire Service says a fire outbreak gutted six houses and 40 shops along Makurdi road in Lafia on Thursday evening.
The state’s Chief Fire Officer, Dogara Dalhatu, confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lafia on Friday.
Mr. Dalhatu said that the fire was caused by a leaking surface tank filled with diesel.
He said in an effort to stop the leakage, the owners of the surface tank requested the services of a welder to block the leaking spot.
He said the process of fixing the leakage sparked fire which gutted six houses and 40 shops nearby.
“From our investigations, it was a surface tank filled with diesel that was leaking.
“Instead of them to carefully offload the product, they went and brought a welder to weld the tank and as a result, there was an explosion.
“We were able to curtail the fire around 7:45 p.m., and from our assessment after the incident, six residential houses and 40 shops were affected by the inferno.
“For now, we cannot ascertain the cost of the damage,” the fire boss said.
He said though no live was lost, one person sustained injury while trying to retrieve some items from one of the shops affected by the fire.
“No live was lost, but one person suffered injury as he tried to retrieve some items from the burning shop and was saved by our firemen.
“He was cut by an object on his leg, he is receiving treatment in one of the hospitals in Lafia,’’ he said.
Mr. Dalhatu expressed sadness over the incident, saying that it was wrong and dangerous to locate a surface tank in a residential area without due approval from Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
“The place officially approved for storing petroleum products is a filling station. Nobody should be allowed to store these products in residential areas.
“Even if it is a surface tank, approval from the DPR must be obtained,’’ he said.
He advised residents to avoid storing petroleum products in their houses.
The chief fire officer also advised them to equip their property with fire extinguishers in case of a fire outbreak.
“People should avoid putting petroleum products in their houses. It is dangerous. Any leakage can easily catch fire. People should also have fire extinguishers in their houses.
“I also appeal to residents to allow fire men to do their job when there is a fire incident,’’ he said.
NAN reports that in July, about 200 shops with goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed by fire at the famous Masaka Market in Karu Local Government Area of the state.