A fire outbreak at a natural gas plant on the outskirt of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital last night, led to an explosion which created panic among residents in the area.
A journalist who lives in the area told Channels Television that the reverberation from the explosion shook the foundation of the buildings in the neigbourhood.
The incident at Rumuodumaya, along the Rumuokoro – Igwuruta road, which leads to the Port Harcourt International Airport is said to have occurred at about 8:45 pm when the plant operators were discharging gas from a truck.
The fire has been put out, but operation at the plant is suspended.
On Sunday morning, the South-South Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency in Rivers State, Walson Brandon said the agency had started evaluating the level of damage at the plant, and the safety of all staff.
The explosion, which officials say is minor, comes barely two days after an explosion at a gas plant in another South-South state, Delta, killed at least four persons including three children, and left 11 others with burns.
In reaction to the explosion in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, visited the victims and the bereaved; and promised to review how gas plants are sited in the state.
“I’m aware that we have some of these facilities even in more densely populated areas and I’m going to sit with the House of Assembly – we have to do an immediate legislation that will not allow such (incident) anymore,” he said.
About three weeks earlier, a fire, and possibly an explosion, had been averted after a gas leak was detected at a facility in Elibrada community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.