No fewer than four persons have been confirmed dead from injuries sustained in an explosion at a gas plant in Agbor, Ika South Local Government of Delta State.
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa who confirmed the incident to newsmen said 11 people were also hospitalised.
He described the fire disaster as an unfortunate incident and announced that the state government would pick the bill for medical treatment of the victims.
The governor said the surviving patients were referred to a specialised centre for the treatment of burns at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) for further treatment because of the high degree of burns they sustained.
“It was an unfortunate fire incident involving a gas station where the tanker was trying to discharge gas.
“We have visited the place and the victims and we have seen the extent of damage caused by the inferno.
“We lost four people, three children and a woman.
“After my visit to the two families that lost their dear ones, I also visited the Central Hospital at Agbor where they were initially rushed to with varying degrees of burns, ranging from 80 to 90 percent.
“They were immediately offered medical services even though they wouldn’t have been able to attend to them because of the extent of the burns; so they have to transfer them to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital with aid of ambulances provided by the state government.
“I have directed the Commissioner for Health to make some deposits at the hospitals to enable them to have full treatment,” he said.
The governor said complaints of inadequate medical care for the victims at the Agbor Central Hospital were misplaced, adding that most people who complained didn’t have an idea of what they were talking about.
“I have listened and heard the complaints. Haven listened to the Medical Director and the extent to which they went; obviously the patients had severe and extensive burns.
“Any burn that is above 30 percent is a major burn and we are talking about 80 to 90 percent burns here.
“So they needed to be moved to UBTH, a specialised centre for the treatment of burns. When you have such a degree of burns, many hospitals will not accept them because the survival rate is low,” Okowa explained.
On siting of gas plants at residential areas, he said he would liaise with the State House of Assembly to come up with a law regulating such investments.
“Obviously, it’s a sad situation and we thank God that this one wasn’t close to a densely populated area, otherwise the damage would have been more.
“I have just told the member representing Ika South Constituency, Hon. Festus Okoh, that I am going to meet with the House of Assembly to enact a law to that effect,” he stated.