By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna.Fuel supply to Niger state and neighbouring states in the North Central areas may experience days of shortage following an early morning fire incident that engulfed the loading bay at the Suleja depot of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) early Sunday morning.
The fire outbreak at the Bay was noticed at dawn at about 5:00am when a sudden huge bang was heard followed by large tongues of flames which went up in the air at a section of the loading bay.
But quick, spirited efforts by firemen from the depot as well as from the Suleja Fire Service station was good enough as the flames were quickly put out and brought under control but not before some portions of the loading Bay were raised.
Though depot officials say the damage was minimal, the depot has since been closed as all movements into the facility and lifting of fuel are suspended till further notice.
This development may it is feared may further cause strains on the supply chains of petroleum products from the depot to it’s catchment areas.
The Head of Operations at the Minna Office of the NNPC, Mr. S. Bijimi said the incidence was a “minor one”.
Bijimi who spoke to our Correspondents in Minna explained that “the outbreak started around 5:00am and that by 5:30am the fire was put out by the prompt response by firemen.
He disclosed that no life was lost in the incidence. “There were no casualties and the damage was also not much because the firemen arrived almost immediately at the nick of time when they were notified.”He disclosed that an articulated vehicle was burnt while the loading canopy as well as some pipes were damaged at the loading bay of the depot.Also, the Officer in Charge of the Fire Service in Suleja, Mr Mohammad Kwale confirmed the fire incident. He said his men responded swiftly to the distress call and fought the fire roundly and brought it under control before it could do much damage or spread out to other parts of the structure. He said the fire did not cause any “serious damage”.Our Correspondent confirmed that following the incidence, the depot has been sealed.
Fire Servicemen, officers and men of the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, (NSCDC) as well as men of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) were statiobed at the depot controlling traffic and barring movements into the facility.