Over 50 persons including eight firefighters were believed to have sustained various degrees of burns in a fire accident at a filling station Saturday, May 23 evening in Kano state, northwest Nigeria.
According to an eyewitness, the fire incident at Al-Ihsan filling station started around 4:30 p.m WAT when a tanker was discharging premium motor spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, to a reservoir in the station.
The fire was initially controlled by firefighters before one of them mistakenly opened the lid of the tanker leading to a massive explosion that burnt more than 50 people including onlookers and passers-by.
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Footage of the incident released by Freedom Radio in Kano shows hundreds of onlookers watching the fire raging before a massive explosion that caused a stampede.
One of the victims, Musbahu Rabi’u, told journalists that he was passing by when he felt some parts of his body burning.
“I was coming back from work when the fire caught my shirt. I was trying to run away when the fire touched my body and burnt my hands, legs, head and neck,” he narrated.
Another victim said he was riding a tricycle trying to pass through where the fire was burning when the tanker exploded.
“I was severely burnt at the back. It had also affected my hands,” the victim who didn’t give his name said.
The victims were taken to the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital in Kano where, according to eyewitnesses, they couldn’t get proper medical attention due to the limitations of emergency workers.
The family members of the victims trooped to the hospital and demanded urgent assistance from the government.
A mother to one of the victims said she was notified about the incident via a phone call. She said her son could not speak when she found him in the hospital bed.
“He is the only son who provides for us and now he is burnt,” the crying mother told Freedom Radio.
Nura Abdulkadir Maigida, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Fire Service, Kano State Command, confirmed the incident and said they would embark on an investigation to find out the details of what caused the fire.
Alhaji Idris Garba Unguwar Rimi, the State Commissioner of Works, accused the filling station of violating the rule of discharging fuel in the daylight especially when the weather is high.
“Everyone knows that it is against the rule to unload fuel in the daylight, especially when the weather is above 40 degrees,” he said.