Enugu State Fire Service has successfully put out the gas flare that erupted during a borehole drilling at the Federal Housing Estate in Ugwogo Nike, Enugu.
This was even as the state government warned against drilling boreholes without the authorisation of the state’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and other relevant government agencies.
The gas flare occurred at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and lasted till the early hours of Sunday, resulting in the rig operators and some residents scampering for safety.
Sam Ugwu, the Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, during an inspection tour of the incident at Nike on Sunday, recalled gas flaring around Caritas University last year.
The commissioner said the government would investigate the incident, just as he advised residents to get approval to drill boreholes to avoid similar incidents.
Mr Ugwu, accompanied by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Energy and Mineral Resources, Kingsley Nnaji, thanked the firefighters, led by the chief fire officer, Okwudiri Ohaa, for their prompt intervention.
“But these gas eruptions have also further confirmed Governor Peter Mbah’s statement that we have both solid and liquid mineral resources in abundance in Enugu State,” he added.
Narrating the incident, Mr Ohaa said the experience garnered by the fire service during such an accidental gas eruption around Caritas University, Nike, helped them apply the proper measures to stop the flare.
He warned residents of the area to respect the cordon by the service members and also avoid coming close to the site with fire of any kind.
He, however, assured that his men would be on ground until the flow stopped.
A resident of the estate, Boniface Ogbueje, told journalists that the incident caused pandemonium but commended the fire service for saving the situation.
“We thought the rig or the vehicle had gas leakage and caught fire. Eventually, this was not the case. The fire continued to increase and increase.
“People were running helter-skelter, but the firemen came quickly and were able to bring the fire under control after several hours. God really helped us,” he said.
Meanwhile, a staff member of the drilling firm, Orange Drilling Company, Kamarudeen Ado, said they were taken unawares as they least expected the presence of natural gas in the water pumping up.
He, however, confirmed that there was no loss of lives and property, while those injured were receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.