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Kerosene explosion kills father, two children, relative in Calabar

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Tragedy struck a family of six as kerosene explosion killed a 45-year-old man, his two children and brother-in-law in Ikot Ekpo community of 8 miles, Calabar, Cross River State.

The sad incident, which was suspected to be caused by adulterated kerosene, happened on Monday night when the surviving daughter was asked by her mother, who also survived the explosion, to refill the kerosene lantern. As soon as she finished refilling, the lantern exploded. She flung it away and ran out of the house.

Confirming the incident, the landlord of the house, Efiom Offiong Efanga, said: “I got a call at about 10:00p.m. that there was fire outbreak in my compound. So, I rushed down here. By the time I got here, the neighbours had succeeded in putting out the fire but they did not know that people had actually been burnt inside because it seems there were no screams.

“It was after the fire was extinguished that we discovered three persons inside who were already burnt to death. Another victim, who was also seriously burnt was rushed to the hospital but he gave up the ghost on the way. So, his body was brought back.

“The only survivor among the children is the daughter. I met her in that church close to my compound very frightened. She told me that the mom asked the elderly brother to refuel the lantern, but the boy refused and went inside, and that after some time, the mother decided to send her to refuel the lantern and that as soon as she poured the kerosene into the already lit but dim lantern, there was a huge explosion. So, she threw the lantern away and ran out. She said her mother was outside easing herself when the explosion occurred.”

The name of the deceased was given as Esuabana Thomas Okon, while his two children who died with him are Okon Esua Thomas, aged 14 and Edet Esua Thomas, aged 12. His in-law, Mathias, also died in the inferno. They were indigenes of Ukwa Eburutu in Odukpani Local Government area of the state.

Describing the incident as a shock, a relative of the late Esuabana, Mr Samuel Inyang, said: “The incident happened in the kitchen. The four persons who died were in the room, but we cannot explain why they could not run out from the door. How can our kerosene be exploding like bombs?

“It is a mystery that the door was opened but our brother, his children and in-law could not escape when they were not asleep. The fire incident started in the kitchen, not the room, and they had every opportunity to have escaped but they could not. It is a mystery.”

Inyang, who on a second thought suspected that the kerosene must have been adulterated, said: “Kerosene from bunkering activities is believed to be responsible for this explosion. The government should rise to the occasion and save the lives of Nigerians by putting a stop to this menace,” he appealed.


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