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Fireworks warehouse in Nigeria explodes, killing 1

By Jon Gambrell

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 26 2012 9:31 p.m. MST

A warehouse burns after fireworks exploded inside Wednesday on Lagos Island in Lagos, Nigeria. The fire spread to residential areas.

Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria — A massive explosion ripped through a warehouse full of fireworks in Nigeria's largest city on Wednesday, sparking a fire that threatened surrounding city blocks and sending a plume of thick smoke high into the sky. At least one person died and 15 others were wounded, emergency officials said.

The blast occurred around 9 a.m. in the Jankara area of Lagos Island, a neighborhood of narrow streets and tall cement buildings holding shops and housing people sometimes a dozen to a room in the megacity of Lagos. The force of the explosion echoed miles away and shook windows.

An Associated Press journalist saw members of the Nigerian Red Cross treating people with minor cuts and bruises a few blocks from the site. Later, rescuers pulled out a badly charred corpse from the still-smoldering structure.

Many people were injured when they stampeded through the area's narrow alleyways, said Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency.

"The explosion was not suspected to be a deliberate attack to cause confusion as security agencies have commenced their investigations," Shuaib said in a statement later Wednesday.

Casualties, however, could rise as rescuers continue to clear debris from the fire. Smoke still rose over the neighborhood as the sun started to set Wednesday over Lagos.

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