At least four persons have been confirmed dead at Ikot Ekpo community 8 miles on the outskirt of Calabar, following an explosion caused by adulterated kerosene.
It was gathered that the explosion, which occurred Monday night, killed a 45-year-old man, two of his children and an in-law all in the apartment.
The deceased, Mr Esuabana Thomas Okon and his two children who died with him were Okon Esua Thomas aged 14 and Edet Esua Thomas, 12, including their In-law, Mathias perished in the explosion, all from Ukwa Eburutu in Odukpani local government of the State.
The landlord of the deceased and relation told Vanguard that Esuabana’s wife and his daughter were the only survivors as four others were killed in the explosion.
The landlord, Engineer Efiom Offiong Efanga, said he was not at home when the incident happened since he was yet to pack into his own part of the apartment which was yet to be completed but a neighbour drew his attention to the ugly development at about 10 pm last night.
“I had a call at about a minute to 10 O’clock that there was a fire outbreak in my compound so I had to rush down here. By the time I got here, the neighbours had succeeded in putting out the fire but they did not know initially that people had actually been burnt inside because it seems there were no screams.
“It was after the fire was extinguished that we discovered three persons inside who were already dead. Another victim, who was also fatally burnt, was rushed to the hospital but he gave up the ghost on the way and so his dead body was brought back.
“The only survivor among the children is the daughter. I met her in that Church close to my compound, very frightened. She told me that the mum asked the elderly brother to refill the lantern but the boy refused and went inside, and that after some minute, the mum decided to send her to refill the lantern and that as soon as she poured the kerosene into the already lit but dim lantern, there was a huge explosion so she threw the lantern away and ran out.
She said the mother was outside easing herself when the explosion occurred.
” Also speaking, a relative to the Esuabanas, Mr Samuel Inyang, who said the explosion happened at about 9.30 described the incident as mysterious, adding that what surprised everyone was how the girl could run out while his father and the other three could not, even when the door was opened.
“The incident happened in the kitchen. The four persons who died were in the room but we cannot explain why they could not run out of the door. How can our kerosene be exploding like bombs? It is a mystery that the door was opened but our brother and his children and in-law could not escape.
The fire incident started in the kitchen, not the room, and they had every opportunity to have escaped but they could not.
It is a mystery.” Inyang suspected that the kerosene may have been heavily adulterated, and further appealed to relevant government agencies to intensify efforts at bringing to an end the case of petroleum bunkering which he said encouraged dealers to mix all types of things with kerosene.
“Bunkering kerosene is believed to be responsible for all these explosions. The government should rise to the occasion and save the lives of Nigerians,” he said.