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Gas explosion: LG boss advises fuel station owners on fire facilities

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  • 3 die from severe burns

Amaechi Okonkwo, Port Harcourt.

Chairman of Obio/Akpor local government area, Solomon Abel Eke, has advised owners of petrol and gas stations to set up infrastructure for fighting fire within their premises.

This was as three victims of a recent fire outbreak at a gas company in the local government have reportedly died at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital UPTH where they were being treated for the severe burns they sustained in the explosion.

The local council boss confirmed that the council’s fire service was unable to respond to the incident because the firemen were not on duty as at the time of the incident.

He made this known during a meeting with representatives of Petrol Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, PETROAN.

The chairman regretted that the Obio-Akpor International Market Fire Station, which had about 2,000 gallons of water installed, could not respond to the fire because none of the workers was on duty that night.

He noted that he was at the scene of the fire incident to help take those injured to the hospital and was there with youths from the Rumuodomaya community to help put out the fire, but firefighters were nowhere to be found.

He also said he reached out to sister fire service units of Shell Petroleum Development Company and the state-owned fire service, to no avail.

He said investigation was ongoing and that disciplinary measures would be taken against the firefighters who, according to him, sabotaged the good efforts of council.

Eke also acknowledged that the fire stations had been unable to function maximally due to lack of funds.

The three dead victims, findings revealed, were staff members of Adros Gas company injured in the deadly explosion at the plant, located at the Rumuodomaya, Obio-Akpor local government of Rivers state on January 23, 2021.

They were among persons trapped in the plant by the explosion. Another staff member who broke the news of the death of his colleagues, at the weekend, said his three colleagues lost the battle to live due to injuries they sustained in the gas explosion incident.

“Three of them didn’t survive the burns. They died at the UPTH.”

According to him, officials of Rivers State Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, were carrying out investigations about the cause of the explosion, while also trying to ascertain if operators of the plant were observing adequate safety standards before the fire incident.

On his part, Rivers State Chairman, PETROAN, Francis Dimkpa, who regretted lack of response by firefighters to the fire incident, noted that most petrol and gas stations in the state had, earlier, been scored 98 per cent by DPR in terms of the safety standards they implemented.

CAPTION:

Charred remains of some gas trucks caught in the Adros Gas Company fire.

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