Fire razes petrol station, 24 shops

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It was a tragic Sunday in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, as a petrol station and about 24 shops were razed by fire, which raged for about three hours. According to eyewitnesses, the fire broke out at 4.40pm from the filling station owned by Strive Energy Limited and extended to the shops, which included cold room, boutiques, pharmacy,

other business offices and vehicles at Ijigbo. The fire broke after a tanker discharging fuel spilled its contents. They said smoke emitted from the tanker for almost 20 minutes but the place was engulfed in flames when a driver, who queued to buy fuel, suddenly switched on his car engine.

The fire claimed three pumps in the station before it extended to other buildings on both sides of the road. Nothing could be salvaged as most of the shops were locked. Firemen battled to put out the fire. Vehicles belonging to the police and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) blocked the dual carriage way to prevent moving vehicles from catching fire. The blockade of the highway caused a traffic snarl which extended from Old Garage, Ijigbo to Ajilosun and Ikere Road.

Hoodlums cashed in on the incident to loot many shops while pretending to help in salvaging the goods. Some of the shop owners, who visited the scene of the incident, wailed uncontrollably. Governor Ayo Fayose made a brief appearance at the scene to assess the level of havoc. At 6.44 pm, the men of the state security outfit code-named Operation Flush fired canisters of teargas to disperse the crowd to prevent further looting. Traffic was later restored at 7.12 pm, when the police vehicles left the scene.

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