A tragic night rocked for the people of Federe, an agrarian community in the Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State. This was as there was a gas explosion at a tea shop popularly called ‘Mai Shari,’ terminating the precious life of a young boy and at the same time leaving 22 others in serious injuries.
A quite night indeed at Federe, a Kaduna Community which borders Plateau State Penultimate Thursday. The villagers were not in the know of an imminent disaster until one Suleiman Idris, the Village’s Mai Shai (tea seller) resumed to sell during the evening.
His shop is cited in the most busy and populated are of the community. The area which fits in for the village square or market, accommodates many other shops and stalls for those doing small businesses like food vending.
Mai Shai, as the tea seller is popularly called relocated his gas cylinder to his stall. He as against his usual practice did not fit the burner upon which he boils water and fries egg. While he was outside to see to other things, his assistance got the burner installed but wrongly. Unknown to him, the gas was leaking somewhere.
An eyewitness who spoke with newsmen described how the gas exploded immediately Idris attempted to attend to his customers and also attend to his costumers.
Abubakar Lere, a source in the area maintained that the fire resulting from the explosion caught others in their nereby shops, children including individuals going about their businesses.
In all, he said, 23 people were injured in the incident and rushed to the General Hospital in Saminaka. “Unfortunately, one of the injured victims, a young boy by the name Abdulrazaq Danbaba, later died in the hospital due to the severe nature of his injuries.”
Narrating how the incident occurred, the Mai Shayi, Suleiman Idris, who was also injured in the incident, said he forgot to install the burner on the cylinder and went out to do something. By the time he returned, he found that one of his boys had installed the burner and he assumed that everything was okay. “But after turning on the fire, I saw that there was a problem because they did not install the burner properly. So, I decided to bring down what was on the fire and reinstall the burner.
“While I was trying to do that, fire was already getting to the outlet of the cylinder.
“Before I could make another move, gas forcefully blew off the cylinder lid and tan and was coming out with force.
“I immediately dropped the cylinder and ran out of the shop. Fire started burning.
“Then at a point, I felt that the fire was going down so I went back into the shop to bring out the cylinder. On getting there, I just heard an explosion and fire caught my dress immediately.
“I ran out of the shop and headed to my house, shouting that people should help me remove the clothes from my body.
thank God that people moved swiftly and removed the clothes from my body. If not, I would probably have been burnt to death,” he narrated.
Idris said he had been using gas to fry eggs and cook noodles in his tea shop for long, but he had never experienced such an incident.
He added: “I feel very bad that this incident occurred. I feel particularly pained that other people got injured as a result of this fire incident that started from my shop.
“But, there was nothing I could have done to stop it because that is the way it was destined to happen.”
One of the injured shop owners, Malam Lawal Ali, who was on admission at Saminaka General Hospital, said he had gone to take tea at the shop without an inkling of the looming disaster.
Ali said: “I had taken my tea and even left the shop before the incident occurred. I was only caught in it because as I was leaving the shop, I met a friend and we started chatting.
“Suddenly, the tea vendor came out shouting for help. We moved in to help and the fire extended to where we were. We started running but it was too late, because my clothes had already caught fire.
“As I was trying to remove my clothes, I got people who came to my aid, and from there, they brought me to the hospital.
The Village Head of Federe, Malam Umar Babangida Ubale, explained that the explosion would not have affected many people but children around the tea shop were there watching when they were supposed to run for their lives. According to the village head, “outside the tea shop, there were children selling food, some were frying soya beans cake. So, when the incident happened, instead of them to run for dear lives, they were busy catching a glimpse of what was happening.
“So, when the gas cylinder exploded, the fire caught up with many of them and other people outside, including people in other shops and passersby.
“Twenty-three people were affected, some with minor injuries, while others had their faces, arms, legs and even their body burnt.”
The village head said most of the injured victims were taken to Saminaka General Hospital while about seven whose injuries were very serious were taken to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Kano State.
He however noted that the community got assistance from the House of Representatives member representing Lere, Alhaji Ahmed Munir, who offered to foot the hospital bills of all the injured people.