Tragedy struck Nasarawa State Monday as 18 persons were burnt to ashes and many others injured following a gas explosion at a filling station in Lafia, the capital of the state.
Many vehicles were also burnt to ashes.
A source near the filling station said the fire was ignited when a motorcycle collided head-on with a tricycle at the main road and the resultant flames extended to a gas leakage from one of the reservoirs in the filling station, and it exploded.
Motorcycles and three tricycles were caught in the inferno, burning all the occupants.
Meanwhile, the casualty unit of the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, was littered with the burnt bodies of victims of the gas explosion as medical personnel of the hospital battled to attend to them.
Officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) had a hectic time controlling sympathizers who besieged the scene to catch a glimpse of the victims. One of the witnesses, Ibrahim Mushasha, told Cornerstone News that more than 50 victims were conveyed to DASH while many others were rushed to Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, and some private hospitals in the state capital.
According to him, “they were brought in naked, as their bodies were burnt and they struggled in anguish. We are yet to ascertain the number of those who died in the inferno, as the dead bodies were still being counted, but, so far, 18 dead bodies have been recovered.
“Some of the victims caught in the inferno were students of the Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia, who were going to school, as well as other travelers.”
WhenCornerstone News approached a medical staff attending to the victims at the casualty unit of the hospital, she declined to comment on the number of casualties so far brought for treatment.
She, however, said that the immediate concern of the hospital was to save lives, noting that the dead were 18.
While the management of DASH refused to give the actual number of casualties, the FRSC said it would issue a press statement on the fire in due course.
The Nasarawa State deputy governor, Silas Agara, and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, who visited the scene of the tragedy, commiserated with the victims and their families.