A Catholic priest lost his life while making attempt to get students out of their dormitory at Bethlehem Girls High School, Abule Ado, Lagos, on Sunday, according to a witness.
The school was among the affected buildings in the explosion which rocked the community. Over 20 students were said to have been trapped in the dormitory .
Residents said they encountered difficulty trying to get the students out and the priest who had also come to lend a hand died in the process.
“He died trying to save the lives of those students,” one of the residents who gave his name simply as Delight said.
The identity of the priest has not been made known, but residents said he worshipped at a nearby Catholic church.
Delight said the explosion which happened around 8am came with a thunderous sound that shook buildings and structures.
“The next thing we saw was that some parts of Bethlehem school had collapsed, and people started running,” he said.
“We called fire service and at first they couldn’t locate where the incident happened. Then another bystander volunteered his phone to call them, and when they eventually arrive but with a small truck. They soon found out they needed more firepower to put out the fire and they called for backup.”
The small truck, however, had helped clear a path for the volunteers to get to the boarding school where they rescued some students and staff.
According to Delight, about 15 bodies were evacuated, and some volunteers who incurred several injuries have been taken to the hospital.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had said over 50 buildings were destroyed in the explosion.
The agency also said the explosion was not caused by pipeline vandalism.
As of 5pm on Sunday, NEMA and other relevant officials were still in the area checking for casualties.