Nigeria explosion: '100 dead' in gas plant blast as crowds queue to fuel for Christmas Day

The explosion set off a fire that raged for hours, according to witnesses

Rose Troup Buchanan
Friday 25 December 2015 09:04 GMT
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A Nigerian fireman deals with a blaze
A Nigerian fireman deals with a blaze (Getty)

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As many as 100 people are feared dead after an explosion at a crowded Nigerian gas plant as scores queued to fill their cooking cylinders ahead of Christmas.

Witnesses described seeing “thick, black smoke” and a huge fire that raged for hours following the explosion at the Chikason Group Gas plant in Nnewi, a predominantly Christian community in southeast Nigeria, at around 11am on Thursday.

Many of the victims were burnt “beyond recognition,” Emeka Peters, 36, told Associated Press.

"I doubt if many family members of the dead victims would be able to identify the remains of their loved ones", he continued.

Survivors have been taken to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi

Mr Peters told Associated Press the fire “exploded like a bomb,” and the “whole gas station went up in thick, black smoke amidst an explosion from cooking gas cylinders".

"Many people were killed, and most of them were those that had been in the station queuing all day to get their cylinders refilled."

The blaze was so intense rescue workers were unable to enter the plant, according to local newspaper Vanguard.

"Five hours after the explosion and the depot was still burning," witness Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu told the BBC. He added the Red Cross and fire services remained on the scene.

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