A fire officer simply identified as Hassan has reacted to allegations by members of the public that the men of the Lagos State Fire Service arrived late to the scene of the tanker explosion at Otedola Bridge on lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
He described the tragedy as the biggest assignment he ever underwent as a fireman, saying he and his colleagues did not wait for the public to inform them because they had already seen the flames right from their office at Alausa, Ikeja, and knew at once that it would be "catastrophic".
Debunking claims it took them over 35 minutes to arrive the scene, he said it was very discouraging for people to accuse them of such a thing because it took them only seven minutes to get there.
"It is the biggest assignment I’ve embarked on as a fireman. On that day, I sighted the flame right from our office at Alausa, Ikeja, and I knew it was going to be a catastrophic scene. I quickly alerted my colleagues and we got ourselves prepared; we didn’t need to wait for the public to notify us since we had seen it ourselves," he told Punch.
"However, on getting to the scene, members of the public started insulting us and some even threw stones at us. They accused us of coming late; meanwhile, it didn’t take us up to seven minutes to get there. We were the first firemen that were at the scene. That was very discouraging."
Hassan also cleared the air on the actual number of casualties, saying: "The figure released is the correct one. The reason people think so is because of a video that circulated on social media which showed a bus with about seven people inside engulfed in flames. All the bodies that were recovered at the scene were lined out before they were evacuated.
He added that government should give them comorehensive insurance because their jobs entails alot of risk and that "more sophisticated equipment should be provided and the public should assist us by giving accurate information and allowing us to work unhindered at fire scenes".