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Pregnant woman, 10 others burnt, escape death in Abuja gas explosion


Eleven persons in Abuja yesterday suffered varying degrees of burns from a gas explosion that occurred at Rosy Restaurant Area 11. The victims who were immediately taken to Asokoro general hospital suffered some 40 to 50 degrees of burns.

A pregnant woman, who simply identified herself as Ajayi and who works at the restaurant, said they were all going about their normal businesses when the gas exploded suddenly.

Ajayi, who is three month pregnant, said she needed to go for scanning to ascertain the condition of her baby. She was, however, attended to by the hospital management to know if she would be transferred to where she would be given a better treatment.

Rachael Awu, another attendant at the restaurant and one of the victims of the explosion, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that she was attending to her duty when the explosion rocked the restaurant.

“I was serving customers and I went to pick an order, as I looked back I just heard the explosion. The fire started from the back of the restaurant where one of the cylinders was stationed. I was facing outside and when I tried to look back, I saw fire from the explosion. One of the gas cylinders was stationed outside the restaurant in the open space, and there is another gas inside where we used to put meat. It was the gas cylinder outside that started the fire, which ignited the gas cylinder inside the restaurant.”

Another victim, who simply identified himself as Promise, said the explosion was sudden, adding that he was attending to customers when he heard a loud noise. Promise suffered some degrees of injuries on his two hands and a partial burn on his face. “I went to carry sachet water when the gas exploded; as I turned back the fire was already burning my hands.”

Rose Kenu, a worker at the restaurant whose face was affected by the explosion, said what happened was beyond explanation. “I was in the restaurant when the gas exploded, we were cooking inside the restaurant because that is where the kitchen is located.”

Dr. Aminu Mile, the Acting Managing Director, Health and Human Services Secretary (HHSS), Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) while on a visit to the victims, said the circumstances surrounding the explosion would be unraveled. He said the HHSS was already doing its own part to help victims of the explosion, adding that everything would be done to help the victims.

Dr. Nnabuchi Chidi, Acting Managing Director, Asokoro Hospital, said the hospital would refer some of the victims to the National Hospital, Abuja. He said that 11 of them were brought to the hospital and the hospital would do everything to ensure they are stabilised.

It would be recalled that last month, nine persons lost their lives and 25 others injured in a gas explosion in Lafia, Nasarawa State. It was a morning gas explosion from a leaking dispenser that inflicted the tragedy when a truck loaded with gas exploded at the Monaco Gas Nigeria Limited plant.

Although there were different versions as to what triggered the explosion but the most pronounced was that the truck containing gas failed to offload due to challenges involving its dispenser. A staff of the gas company told newsmen that the truck had a challenge with its dispenser, whose hose was discovered to be blocked due to dirt.

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