Three persons were reportedly killed on Monday evening following a gas explosion at the Okpokiri filling station at the Orji town in Owerri North council area if the state.
Witnesses said the explosion destroyed part of the filling station and shattered the Windows of the Diamond bank that is located about hundred metres away as well as the windows of a private primary school across the road.
The explosion, which shook the entire neighbourhood of the Amawire axis of Orji, Owerri North Local Government Area, witnesses said, killed three persons instantly while another, a middle-aged man unconscious and was rushed to the hospital.
The explosion which destroyed the filling station located directly opposite the Orji branch of the First Bank Plc, was caused by a newly installed gas plant in the filling station.
Sources said that the management of the filling station had been working on the installation of the gas plant in the last three weeks and had only commenced sales of the product yesterday before the facility exploded. A customer and two attendants were killed while seven others were injured, reports The Telegraph.
More than six vehicles parked at the filling station were all destroyed while the roof of the building was blown off. The destruction caused by the explosion was believed to be in the region of N70 million, according to sources.
One of the residents, Mr. Chibugwu, bemoaned the proliferation of gas plants across the state without any evident regulatory measure to ensure that all the necessary safety measures were put in place, in line with international best practices.
He said: “The impact of the explosion is horrifying. The screen doors and windows in my office across the road were all destroyed by the impact of the explosion.
If you look across the road you will also see that most of the glass screens at the First Bank building were destroyed also. “We are not ignorant of the volatile nature of cooking gas; as such it should be strictly regulated.
Now in Owerri, even under a storey building you will see gas plants located in tight corners with hardly adequate ventilation.
This trend should be put in check or we would be merely laying the groundwork for similar explosions and attendant tragedies.” As at the time of filing the report, the Orji area of the Okigwe Road was on lockdown as passersby and residents thronged the filling station to see the carnage wrought at the gas plant.