This morning, on his way to work which required him to ply the pedestrian bridge at Anthony village over Oshodi-Oworonshoki road to connect his destination, our reporter stumbled on a raging inferno.
The fire licked the whole Hiace bus while other commuters refused to stop-by. On the road beside the burning bus were two fire extinguishers. Approached, the driver of the bus who spoke under the condition of anonymity said he had exhausted the contents of the cylinder but still, the fire did not abate.
Saddened, he claimed the vehicle is a staff bus for a company on Lagos Island. There was no one with him when the reporter walked to him in the middle of the road. He said the about 12 staff whom he was commuting before the ugly incident occurred had all absconded him. However, when asked, he did not give details of how the fire started.
Passersby and commuters preferred to take pictures and upload on their social networks than to call on first responders. The reporter googled the dial of the Lagos State Fire Service, the nearest being at Town Planning, Ilupeju, a stone’s throw from the location of the incident.
He spoke to one Mr. Alimi Shittu whose number was listed as a worker with Ilupeju Fire Station. But Alimi said he is out of service. “I am retired. Call the control room.” And the phone went off.
The vehicle is now ashes but there are questions begging for answers to avert future occurrences:
How on earth would the reporter know the control room number? Why would such a sensitive public company as the Fire Service release a private line of a staff for the public to call in moments of distress? Even if it does, why can’t such SIM card be handed over to those still in service at Alimi’s retirement? And finally, why couldn’t Alimi just ring his former office where he claimed he has retired from and inform them of the distress call instead of telling the reporter to call an unknown ‘control room’?
And to the public: So shameful that all feigned non-concerned, instead, preferred to click at the shutters of their cameras when another is in anguish. What about empathy? What about each commuter bringing out fire extinguishers to help the poor driver attack the fire? Even if it won’t suppress the fumes, the place of empathy has been achieved by the single act of collaborative effort. Same thing happens in the medical arena and in other spheres of humanity.
While the driver of the razed vehicle is still bewildered and has not called his employer to inform of the ugly incident, the public should learn to be each other’s brother’s keeper. It may be your turn someday.
Also, as harmattan is fast approaching, check the state of your fire extinguishers – at home, at the office and in the car. It might have expired without your knowledge.