Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

Seven persons escaped death by the whiskers after a gas tanker on Monday evening exploded at the premises of Bolek fuel station located opposite the Benue State University College of Health Sciences in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

The victims included two staff of the fuel station, two students of the Benue State University (BSU) and three other customers who are now receiving treatment at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH).

According to the Manager of the Fuel station, John Ekpo, the incidence occurred at about 6pm that fateful day shortly after a gas tanker had completed discharging gas at the station.

Ekpo said the gas tanker was trying to move out of the station when suddenly it exploded leaving everyone in the station scampering for safety.

He said the immediate intervention of motorists who had fire extinguishers saved the day as they all rallied round with the support of the fire extinguishers in the premises to put out the fire.

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One of the victims, Pastor (Mrs.) Jude Ochife who had her two legs badly burnt said she was at the station to follow her gas cylinder when suddenly she heard the explosion and then, fire everywhere.

“I was still in my car when I saw fire all around my vehicle. So, I had to rush out of the car and walked through the fire to safety. I lost my purse containing my phones and some amount of money in the process but thank God, my vehicle wasn’t burnt.

Another victim, a 300 level student of Mass Communication at BSU said he had gone to the station with his friend and classmate, Ahile Samuel to refill his cylinder when the incidence occurred.

At the time our correspondent visited the scene of the incidence, the station was under lock and keys while services in the premises was also put on hold.

Speaking with our correspondent by phone, Head of Information Unit of BSU, Mr. Tse Vanger disclosed that two students of Mass Communications Department of the institution who had gone to the station to refill their gas cylinder were burnt by the fire.

Vanger explained that one of the two students was severely affected by the fire adding that both students were already receiving treatment at the Accident and Emergency Unit of the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH).