APPREHENSION, Friday evening, reigned in Agbor, headquarters of Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, as Osadebe Gas Plant went up in flames, killing four, razing several buildings, vehicles and leaving many persons with various degrees of injury.
The source of the fire, which occurred at about 6:30pm, was not known at press time, but a source said firefighters were at the scene making frantic efforts to put off the fire.
The source added that some vehicles plying the Benin/Asaba expressway where the plant was located were not spared by the fire.
Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday, visited the scene of the tragedy, confirming that four persons died and no fewer than 11 persons were hospitalised from burns resulting from the explosion.
Okowa described the fire disaster as an unfortunate incident and announced that the state government would pick the medical bills of victims.
He said that survivors were referred to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, for treatment because of the high degree of burns they sustained.
The governor said: “It was an unfortunate fire incident involving a gas station where a tanker was trying to discharge gas. 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. 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 degrees of burns ranging from 80 to 90 percent.
“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 Federal Medical Centre Asaba and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital 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 to have full treatment”. According to him, complaints of inadequate medical care for the victims at Agbor Central Hospital were misplaced.
He insisted that most people who complained didn’t have an idea of what they were talking about. The governor said: “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 that is above 30 percent 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”.
On the siting of gas plants at residential areas, the governor said he would liaise with the state House of Assembly to come up with a law regulating such investments.