In Ikot Ekpo community, Calabar, Cross River State, four persons have been killed in a kerosene explosion.
The explosion which occurred on Monday night is suspected to have been caused by adulterated kerosene being poured into a lantern.
The casualties include a 45-year-old man, Esuabana Thomas, two of his children, and an in-law of his.
The children identified are 14-year-old Esua Thomas and 12-year-old Edet Thomas, and the in-law was identified as Mathias.
Upon inquiries, the victims were confirmed to be indigenes of Ukwa Eburutu, in the Odukpani Local Government Area of the state.
According to the deceased’s landlord, Mr. Efiom Efanga, Esuabana’s wife and daughter survived the incident.
He stated that he didn’t live in the property with the tenants, and added that he became aware of the incident around 10 pm.
In his words: “I got a call around 10 pm that there was a fire incident in my house, so I rushed down there. By the time I got there, the neighbors had succeeded in putting out the fire. But they did not know that people had been burnt inside because it seemed there were no screams.
The landlord narrated that after the fire was extinguished, three persons were discovered inside the house who were already dead.
He added that another victim discovered was also fatally burnt. He was rushed to the hospital, but he gave up the ghost on the way and his dead body was brought back.
“The only survivor among the children is the daughter. I met her in a church close to my compound, very frightened.”, he said.
“The girl told me that: ‘the mum asked the elder brother to refuel the lantern, but the boy refused and went inside. After some minutes, the mum decided to send her to refuel the lantern; as soon as she poured the kerosene into the already lit but dim lantern, there was an explosion.’
‘She said she threw the lantern away and ran out. She said the mother was outside to urinate when the explosion occurred.'”
Another person, Mr. Samuel Inyang, who happens to be a relative of the deceased gave his narration of the incident.
He described the incident as mysterious and stated that the explosion happened around 9.30 pm.
“It happened in the kitchen. The four persons who died were in the room, but we cannot explain why they could not run out through the door. How can kerosene explode like a bomb? It is a mystery that the door was open, but our brother, his children, and in-law could not escape.”, Mr. Inyang said.
He appealed to the government to checkmate illegal bunkering of petroleum products while alleging that the kerosene might have been adulterated