People filling up cooking gas cylinders for Christmas were caught up in massive explosion sparked by tanker truck at plant in Nnewi city, say witnesses
A gas tanker truck ignited a huge explosion at a crowded industrial gas plant in Nigeria on Thursday, killing more than 100 people lining up to refill their cooking gas cylinders in time for Christmas.
The disaster took place in Nnewi, a predominantly Christian city in south-east Nigeria. An Associated Press reporter counted more than 100 corpses after firefighters put out the last of the flames.
A witness, Emeka Peters, said the fire broke out at about 11am when a tanker truck that had finished discharging fresh gas at the Chikason Group Gas plant left without waiting to observe the prescribed cooling time.
“The fire exploded like a bomb and the whole gas station went up in thick, black smoke amidst an explosion from cooking gas cylinders,” Peters said. “Many people were killed and most of them were those that had been in the station queuing all day to get their cylinders refilled.”
He said the fire raged for hours.
Peters, 36, said most of the bodies and some badly injured victims were evacuated to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi.
“Many of them were burned beyond recognition and I doubt if many family members of the dead victims would be able to identify the remains of their loved ones”, said Peter.
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