Nigeria: Fire causes pandemonium at Lagos airport
Confusion hit hundreds of intending passengers at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, on Thursday after a mid-day fire erupted at a section of the building.
The inferno, which caused a thick cloud of smoke to invade the terminal building, forced air travellers and airport officials to scamper to safety around the 33-year-old airport.
Investigation revealed that the fire started from a piece of electric equipment at a section of the airport under reconstruction.
When our correspondent visited the scene, pallets of foam worth millions of Naira were seen to have been consumed by the fire.
It was learnt that the fire would have burnt a major part of the main terminal building if not for the prompt response of firefighters.
However, part of the airport’s air conditioning system panel and steel pillars at the construction site were badly affected by the inferno.
Eyewitnesses said electricity was switched off during the fire incident and the six-storey terminal building evacuated.
“People ran helter-skelter because of smoke in the building,” an airline worker said.
No officials of the construction company, Iron Products Industries, were available for comments.
But the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Mr. Yakubu Dati, said the fire incident, which started at about 11.30am was caused by welders working at the site.
He said, “The fire incident did not extend beyond 15 minutes. Men of the fire service department of FAAN acted promptly and everything was brought under control. The response was unprecedented.”
He said there were no casualties and normal activities at the airport were not interrupted by the fire.
“Planes are taking off and landing without hitches.
“We remain committed to providing secure, safe and comfortable airport environment as enshrined in the aviation master plan,” he added. The Punch