Situation under control –BUA
Tragedy struck yesterday in Sokoto as an industrial fire at BUA cement factory resulted in the death of three persons, while three others were injured. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other equipment and other valuables had also been destroyed by the inferno.
NAN further gathered that the incident started on Friday morning and the inferno is still raging as at the time of filing this report. It was learnt that a combined team of federal and state fire service officers were still battling the blaze.
An interim situation information indicated that the inferno was suspected to have been caused by an offloading fuel tanker. A source confided in NAN that a worker was repairing a stationed tank when the explosion ignited.
The source said three persons died and three others sustained injuries as result of the incident which was said to have overpowered the company’s safety officers. When contacted, the Fire Prevention Officer of Sokoto State Fire Service, Mr Nuhu Lawal, confirmed the incident, saying that they mobilised teams, as well as moved fire fighting equipment to the location.
Lawal declined further comments, stressing that the combined teams were still making efforts to put out the fire.
Meanwhile, Mr Umar Nura-Sifawa, an official of the Federal Fire Service in Sokoto, who was also at the scene, said: “It is an ‘oil fire’ which takes longer period to extinguish”. Nura-Sifawa said the combined teams were trying to stop the fire from spreading to other areas beside oil compartments.
But in a statement late last night, the BUA management said the fire had been contained. A statement signed by one Sada Suleiman, an Assitant Director, Admin Services, said that it was an isolated incident, which has been contained. The statement read: “We wish to use this medium to inform the public of an isolated fire incident which occurred at a diesel storage tank farm situated in the vicinity of one of our factories in Sokoto.
This incident occurred whilst routine maintenance work was ongoing on one of the storage tanks by a third-party contractor. “Immediately the incident occurred, our emergency management and mitigation services were alerted, and a swift response activated, which prevented any escalation of the incident or damage to our main plant and equipment.
We are however able to confirm the regrettable loss of 3 workers of the third-party contractor, who were in the immediate area of the incident.
“Whilst we are yet to ascertain the exact cause of the fire outbreak at the depot which had adequate safety and control mechanisms in place, members of the Federal Fire Service, State Fire Service, and our Fire department are working together to put the incident under total control.
“We would also like to note that operations at the plant and production which were shut down in the aftermath of the incident as a precautionary and preventive measure, have since resumed at the factory – which was unaffected by the incident.”