A Missionary school in Umuahia, the Abia State capital was completely destroyed Sunday after a huge fire from an explosion at nearby Saclux Paints Industry.
This was disclosed by Mr Emeka Okereke, the owner of the school, known as Love for Africa Mission, who said that a tanker, allegedly bearing ‘black oil’ exploded inside the company’s premises around 1 pm, Leadership writes.
“We ended the Sunday service around 12:15 pm and I was trying to lock up the gate, when I heard a heavy explosion, accompanied with billows of heavy smoke and fire moving up the sky.
“The incident caused panic and stampede as everyone of us scampered into different areas, including the nearby bush, for safety,” he said.
He said that the fire later spread into the school building, which doubles as his family residence, when oil from the exploded tank spilled into the compound.
According to the proprietor, he had to restrain youths in the area who made attempts to move into his building in order to rescue some valuables as he feared that they might be trapped inside the building.
“But when they insisted and attempted to pull down the entrance gate, I gave them the key with which they entered the compound,” he said.
He said that they were eventually able to push out the two jeeps that were parked in the compound, although no other property was recovered from the building.
An eyewitness account said that a fire fighting equipment from the state fire service came to the scene but could not control the fire due to insufficient water in the machine.
The firefighters however returned to the scene and eventually put out the fire with the assistance of a commercial water tanker driver in the area.
One of the firemen, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that they encountered logistics problems in their effort to put out the fire.
The incident has been confirmed by the Police Public Relations Officer of the state, Mr Geoffrey Ogbonna, who said that no life was lost.