From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
At least, four persons have been confirmed dead as a result of explosion from a gas plant in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State.
The explosion which occurred on Friday night, was caused by a suspected leakage of gas at the Osadebey Gas Plant along the Agbor axis of the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha.
Besides the four dead victims, about eleven persons who suffered severe degrees of burns, are now at different hospitals where medics are battling to save their lives.
Also, several houses within the neighborhood of the plant were razed by the raging inferno that resulted from the deafening explosion.
An eyewitness said: “We saw fire explosion in the Osadebe Gas Plant, so we rescued some of the victims to Central Hospital Agbor while the fire service people were also on ground.
“But already, one of the victims died there while another one died in the Central hospital Agbor because there were no doctors, no nurses and no equipment in our central hospital, Agbor which we think was very unfortunate.”
As a result, most of the burnt victims were transfered to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Asaba, as well as the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) in neighbouring Edo State.
Meanwhile, the Delta State government has commiserated with the families of the dead victims, while also promising to pick up the medical bills of the injured during the devastating fire.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa made the promise when he visited the scene of disaster on Saturday morning.
Dr. Okowa confirmed that four persons died while 11 others were currently hospitalised, lamenting that the inferno also destroyed the properties of the casualties.
He described the fire disaster as an unfortunate incident.
“It was an unfortunate fire incident involving a gas station where the tanker was trying to discharge gas.
“We have visited the place and the victims and we have seen the extent of damage caused by inferno.
“We lost four persons, three children and a woman.
“After my visit to the two families that lost their dear ones, I also visited the Central Hospital at Agbor where they were initially rushed to with varying degree 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 have to transfer them to the FMC, Asaba and the UBTH with 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 have full treatment,” he said.
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.
“I have listened and heard the complaints. Haven listened to the Medical Director and the extent to which they went, obviously the patients had severe and extensive burns.
“Any burn that is above 30 per cent is a major burn and we are talking about 80 to 90 per cent burns here.
“So they needed to be moved to UBTH, a specialised centre for the treatment of burns. When you have such a degree of burns many hospitals will not accept them because the survival rate is low,” Okowa explained.
On citing of gas plants at residential areas, he said that he would liaise with the state House of Assembly to come up with a law regulating such investments.
“Obviously its a sad situation and we thank God that this one wasn’t close to a densely populated area otherwise the damage would have been more.
“I have just told the member representing Ika South Constituency, Hon. Festus Okoh, that I am going to meet with the House of Assembly to enact a law to that effect,” he stated.