Yesterday’s chlorine cylinder explosion at the state government’s water treatment plant at the Lamingo water dam in Jos, Plateau state, left 14 people dead, with over a hundred sustaining varying degrees of injuries from poisonous gas inhalation.
The cylinder exploded at about 11.30 pm on Friday while people were asleep, The Punch reports, and the gaseous substance enveloped the entire neighbourhood.
On Saturday, Emmanuel Nanle, director of press and public affairs to governor Simon Lalong, issued a statement on behalf of the state government regarding the incident.
Affected persons are receiving treatment at “OLA Hospital, Evangel Hospital (Jankwano), Plateau Specialist Hospital, and Airforce Hospital. Some of the victims on hospital admission have been discharged,” the statement read, in part.
“The contamination has been contained and does not affect the water which has been supplied to public mains. Water from the public mains is safe for consumption and is not affected in anyway by the aerial contamination of chlorine from the exploded cylinder.
“Government wishes to commiserate with the families of the victims of this industrial hazard and has taken immediate measures to address the issues of expired components of the treatment plant and to guard against future re-occurrence of this unfortunate incident,” the statement read.
The Saturday’s statement put the figure of fatalities at eight; however, Thisday and The Punch published Melvin Ejeh, executive director of a NGO, Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative’s, update after he visited the scene: he said the death toll from the incident has gone up over 14 persons. The Punch also indicates that, according to eyewitnesses, no less than 160 people were injured due to excess chlorine gas inhalation.
Ejeh has commended the Plateau state government for paying the medical bills of the hospitalised victims of the incident.
A pregant woman, children and students were among the victims, as well as staff of the Nigeria Immigration Service, all residents or workers of areas not far from the plant.
Speaking to The Punch, Nangor Ndam, PR manager of Plateau state water board, said the cylinder must have been leaking prior to the incident, but nobody noticed it until it was too late.
The Saturday’s tragedy is the third time that expired dangerous gas would escape from cylinders stored at the warehouse.