A pastor with the Foursquare Gospel Church has been reportedly burnt to death, while an unidentified artisan was severely injured by a generator explosion that occurred at Plot 100 Nkwere Street in Umuahia, the Abia State capital on Wednesday evening.
The deceased had called the mechanic to service his generator, but while he was helping him to start the generator, it exploded and cut fire immediately. Sources said while the mechanic, who was closer to the door leading to the staircase where the generator was kept was able to escape, the pastor was trapped inside and could not come out as a result of smoke that engulfed the building.
It was learnt that the mechanic was currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in Umuahia, while the remains of the deceased had been deposited in a mortuary.
An eyewitness, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, told Southern City News that efforts were made to put out the fire, but the man was already dead by the time he was brought out of the staircase. He said, “When we saw smoke coming out from the building, many of us rushed to find out what was happening. But when we got there, we saw the mechanic struggling with fire all over his body.
“The pastor himself was inside the staircase and the whole place was engulfed with smoke and he couldn’t escape. We tired pulling out the generator with a stick, but we found out that it was chained to the staircase. Before we could put out the fire, the man had passed on.”
Efforts made to speak with the deceased’s family and his church members proved abortive as they were still bemoaning their fate at the time of filing this report.
The Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, Ogbonaya Nta, confirmed the incident.