There was pandemonium at the popular Okwe market, a suburb community in Asaba, the Delta State capital, following a gas explosion which rocked the market killing at least five persons on Thursday.
INKLING gathered the deceased include a mother and four children. Scores of persons were also learnt to have sustained severe injuries during the incident.
The explosion was said to have occurred at a retail gas shop in the market, a witness told our correspondent on Friday.
The owner of the shop was said to be away to Onitsha Market, Anambra State, when the incident took place.
A visiting mother and her two kids who were waiting for the shop owner were however unlucky as the inferno that resulted from the explosion killed them.
Narrating the incident, our source who preferred to be identified simply as Wendy, said the incident occurred as a result of leaking gas cylinder in the shop while a food vendor was cooking in the neighbouring store.
The source said, “The incident happened at about 4pm Thursday when a food vendor was cooking with a stove near the gas shop. In the process, one of the gas cylinders suspected to have a linkage exploded.
“A mother and her two kids who were in the shop when the explosion occurred were killed before help could come. Two other teenagers who were around the shop were equally burnt to death. Many persons were injured.”
Another source claimed that the woman whose identity could not be ascertained, was burnt while trying to rescue her two kids.
They were said to have been burnt beyond recognition before men of the Delta State Fire Service arrived the scene.
“The two kids died on the spot but the mother and other two kids who came to buy goods at the provision shop were quickly rushed to Okwe General Hospital in a critical condition but were also confirmed dead on Friday”, the source added.
Their corpses were said to have been deposited at a morgue in the area.
Efforts to speak with the State Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Aniamaka, who said he was attending a meeting at the time of filing this report for official response on the incident proved abortive.
He did not also respond to a text sent to his telephone.