Four persons reportedly died on Friday night in Agbor, the headquarters of Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State after a gas plant went up in flames, destroying several buildings, vehicles and leaving many persons with serious injuries.
Eyewitnesses disclosed to PUNCH that a gas tanker had arrived at the Osadebe Gas Plant along the expressway around 6pm.
One of them, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said instead of waiting for hours to allow the vehicle and the content to cool off, they started discharging it immediately.
He said, “In the process, the tanker went up in flames and over seven buildings around the plant were burnt down, more than 4 people died while many were injured.
“They rushed the injured victims to the Central Hospital, Agbor, but there was nothing on the ground to attend to victims. It is a shame on the government. Some were taken to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
“Imagine taking somebody who is dying from Agbor to Benin, what would happen to them? Some victims died on the way before getting to UBTH.”
Firefighters battled the inferno for hours before it was eventually put out on Saturday.
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who visited the scene on Saturday, sympathised with the victims, confirming that four persons, including three children and a woman, died in the incident.
The governor also confirmed that no fewer than 11 persons were being treated at the UBTH for severe burns.
Okowa described the fire disaster as an unfortunate incident and announced that the state government would pick the medical bills of the victims.
He said, “We have visited the place and the victims and we have seen the extent of damage caused by the inferno. We lost four persons, three children and a woman.
“I also visited the Central Hospital at Agbor where they were initially rushed to with varying degrees of burns ranging from 80 to 90 per cent. They were immediately offered medical services even though they wouldn’t have been able to attend to them because of the extent of the burns, so they had to transfer them to the Federal Medical Centre Asaba, and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, with the aid of ambulances provided by the State Government.
“I have directed the Commissioner for Health to make some deposits at the hospitals to enable them get full treatment.”
The governor said that complaints of inadequate medical care for the victims at the Agbor Central Hospital were misplaced, adding that most people who complained didn’t have an idea of what they were talking about.
He added, “I have listened and heard the complaints. Having listened to the medical director and the extent to which they went, obviously the patients had severe and extensive burns.
“Any burn above 30 per cent is a major burn and we are talking about 80 to 90 per cent burns here.”