Several people were feared dead in an explosion that rocked the office of the Central Bank, Caalabar, Friday.
Unconfirmed reports say 18 people were roasted while others sustained third degree burns in an inferno, following an explosion at the premises of the Bank located at Calabar Road by the Millennium Park .
The explosion was said to have set the main edifice of the bank on fire effectively trapping many staff and visitors which occasioned for the high casualty fire.
A team of mobile policemen and soldiers assisted by nurses and personnel of the Nigeria Security and civil defense Corps have since taken guard while officials of the Federal and State Fires Services were putting out the fire and rescuing those trapped in the building.
“I cannot give exact figures of how many people are dead but many people were burnt beyound recognition while many sustained third degree burns; rescue operation is going on to ensure everyone is brought out soon”, an official of the Federal Fire Service at the Calabar Airport told our reporter.
There were fire trucks in the premises of the bank and ambulances were coming in and out, conveying casualties.
There were shattered glasses everywhere and parts of the main bank building were damaged.
Men of the Police, Army, Navy, Civil Defence and other paramilitary organizations were drafted to scene.
At the gate of the bank relatives of staff were seen crying. They demanded to see their relatives working in the bank.
Officials of the bank refused to comment. “We are traumatized right now. No one can talk,” one of them said.
The Commissioner of Police, Henry Faidairo inspected the scene.
The Acting Inspector General of Police, Zone 6, Calabar, Baba-Adisa Bolanta, who also inspected the scene, said the explosion was suspected to be from gas from the central air-conditioning unit.
“This is just an initial assessment, and it is not confirmed yet. It is when a final result has been given that we will confirm what really happened,” he said.
Ambulances from the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH and General Hospital Calabar were brought in to evacuate the dead and those wounded while rescue efforts were being made to extricate those still inside.