25 students and 2 teachers of Ogba Junior Secondary School, Lagos, yesterday, went into coma after inhaling a chemical waste allegedly discharged into drainage by a company, Bizcircuit Photo Laboratory, located a few metres from the school premises.
According to reports, the gas enveloped the school premises at noon when students and teachers were in the school,and they began to feel dizzy, with some of them collapsing after inhaling the emission from chemical spread to their school premises by air.
Following the incident, some of the teachers raised an alarm which attracted some members of the public, who immediately called officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency on their toll free lines.
The unconscious students and teachers were immediately rushed to Blue Cross Hospital, located opposite the shopping mall for urgent medical attention.
Two of the affected female students whose condition was critical were transferred in a Lagos State Emergency Ambulance marked LA 156 A08 to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, in Ikeja.
One of the school’s pupils, Adetayo Adekanbi, said: “We were in the classroom when we perceived the offensive gas and smoke clouding the entire premises. We never knew the gas was injurious.
“Immediately I noticed it, I ran towards the gate to escape inhaling the gas. But some of my mates became unconscious after inhaling the gas.”
The Head of Logistic, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Mr. Femi Giwa, said that of the 25 victims, four were in critical condition but responding to treatment.
Giwa said: “On arrival at the scene, we conducted a general assessment and discovered that certain liquid chemicals, with offensive and choking odour, used for production in the photo lab on the first floor of a shopping complex, could have led to the incident.”
He said that Lagos State government immediately sealed the premises of the photo laboratory concerned and arrested three of its staff.
Giwa, however, assured that proper investigation would be conducted to analyse the chemical that gave off the offensive gas and its effect on the environment.
Also speaking, state Director of Fire and Safety Services, Mr. Rasaq Fadipe, said officials assisted the rescue team in controlling the chemical fumes from spreading further.