Parents of pupils and students of Okunerere Comprehensive Academy, Nsukka, Enugu State, had a hectic time smuggling their children and wards out of the school premises following an inferno that gutted Trans Emma Ezu Filling Station located almost opposite the school.
The fire started around 1pm, thirty minutes before the school dismissed. The raging fire forced the students and pupils out of school, with the teachers having a hectic time evacuating them.
Some parents were seen battling to find their kids and wards. It was gathered that the school management evacuated some of the pupils in their buses to distant safe places while some pupils escaped for safety on their own.
One of the pupils, Ugochukwu, said, “Our teacher brought us down, kept us in one shop, and then returned to bring down other children. One aunty came and carried us to her house, where I called my dad’s number. He then came and carried us. My shoes, food basket, school bag were lost.”
An eyewitness said, “The fire began when a gas tanker that was discharging gas caught fire. Someone said the fire was sparked by a cellphone used in making calls.
“The saviour is that there was no fuel in the filling station. It would have been worse.”
Our correspodent reports that the gas tanker as well as the gas filling unit located inside the station burnt completely. The raging fire overwhelmed fire service operatives who were backed up by a volunteer water tanker.
The combined efforts of the fire service put off the fire, thus preventing it from spreading beyond the filling station.
The densely populated school is owned by Dr Paul Obayi, a popular Catholic priest famously known as Okunerere.